Biking is a fun form of exercise, but is it helping or hurting your back?
There are few things as refreshing as heading out for a ride on your bike. You can feel the wind on your face, the blood pumping through your veins, and a burst of energy as you power through the gears.
Riding a bicycle has many positive points, but many riders are unsure if this form of exercise is suitable if they suffer from back problems.
The benefits of bike riding for your back
Biking can often involve less jarring on the spine than the likes of jogging, especially stationary cycling. Sometimes, the positioning of your body on the bike can be favourable as well. If you have lumbar spinal stenosis, leaning forward towards aerodynamic, or low handlebars can be more comfortable than other positions.
The downsides of riding a bike for your back
Biking can still cause back and neck pain for some. Your back muscles may not be strong enough for the riding position, or your posture may cause strain. Although you may be leaning forward, this position can also cause you to arch your neck backwards, causing strain to the neck and upper back. Rough terrain may increase the risk of spinal jarring or compression, especially if the bike is unsuitable.
Prevention of back injuries from bike riding
There may be ways you can prevent back and neck injuries from occurring while riding your bike. Whether you are a commuter, off road enthusiast or occasional cyclist; the first thing to do is select a bike that’s fit for purpose.
It’s worth getting advice from a bicycle professional on the right bike and accessories, and how to adjust your riding position to suit your body.
As you ride, gently lift and lower your head regularly to reduce the risk of neck strain. Biking isn’t greatly effective for strengthening back or abdominal muscles, therefore you may need to strengthen these in other ways to support your body and avoid lower back pain.
If you are trying to find forms of exercise that won’t cause or worsen back pain, biking could be the answer; however, it’s advisable to ask your chiropractor if it would be suitable for you.
‘’Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spaces within your spine narrow, putting pressure on the nerves and causing pain. It frequently occurs in the lower back and neck, and is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear in the spine related to osteoarthritis.”
This article first appeared in the September/ October edition of your chiropractor. Come in and see us to pick up a copy.