Did you know that today is World Bicycle Day? At Performance Physical Therapy, we know the power of movement and how it can be medicine to your physical health, immunity, and mental health. In this time of uncertainty, it’s important to be able to get moving and maintain a level of activity to help your overall health. When done safely, riding a bicycle is a great way to stay active!
Athletic Trainer at PPT, Amanda Moran, has been biking for over 10 years. She began biking when she signed up for the MS150 Bike Ride for Multiple Sclerosis and loved it so much, that it has become a part of her lifestyle.
Benefits of Biking
Not only is biking good for the environment, but it also has a lower impact on the joints, which makes it a great activity for beginners. Other benefits of biking include:
· Helps with weight management
· Increases lower body strength
· Improves balance, coordinator, and posture
· Helps to manage or decrease depression and stress levels
· Improves cardiovascular health
How to Bike Safely
1. Use a properly fitted bike
Amanda notes that a properly fitted bike can make a huge difference for comfort levels, as you will likely be sitting on the bike for long periods of time. A bike specialist can measure you and find a frame that is suited to your body.
2. Plan your route
Before you start your warm-up, plan your route so you know the mileage and plan for stops along the way to fuel and rehydrate. This is especially important if you are biking long distances.
3. Perform a dynamic warm-up
To prevent injury, remember to do a dynamic warm-up before you begin biking. Amanda recommends focusing on the lower extremity and the lower back, especially if riding in aerobars or low bike bars. She also recommends stretching the neck, as the muscles can be fatigued due to prolonged position on the bike.
4. Always wear a helmet
You should always be wearing a helmet if you are biking, no matter how comfortable you are with your route. If a fall occurs, you want to be as safe as possible and avoid any unnecessary injuries.
5. Ride with traffic and abide by traffic laws when street riding
When sharing the road with drivers, it’s especially important to abide by traffic laws. Stop at stop signs and traffic lights, follow one-way streets, and pay attention to what’s happening around you. Just like you should be doing when operating a vehicle, signal your intent to change lanes or to turn left and right. This helps everyone on the road stay safe and protected!
Amanda's Advice for Aspiring Bikers:
For those who are interested in biking, Amanda advises to start off slow, riding for 10-15 mins and increase as you are able to tolerate it. And don’t be afraid to stop and take a breath if you’re getting winded – the most important thing to do is to listen to your body! When she began her biking journey, she noticed that she would get winded easily. But after a few weeks of training, what used to feel challenging became much easier. Remember, results will vary depending on the length of time that you ride and the type of bike workout (speed, hill, distance, or leisure). If you continue to challenge yourself while respecting your body, a bike workout could be exactly what you need!