Have pain or discomfort when cycling? We can HELP!
Cycling is a wonderful activity (obsession for some) on many different levels. We all know cardiovascular exercise is important to one’s long term health, and that stress levels and cortisol levels are lower following bouts of cycling. Bike riding is also an outstanding way of preserving bone mineral density without being overly harsh on our body’s joints, as well as being an excellent method for maintaining strong legs. Fun fact: leg weakness is correlated with mortality.
Those of us who have devoted enough time in the saddle also realize that cycling puts you in a awfully strange position for long periods of time, particularly if you have a more aggressive position on the bike. Even with the many positives to one’s physical and mental well being, the position a person adopts on a bicycle is not useful or applicable to everyday life outside of riding a bike. We homo sapiens perform the vast majority of our functional activities upright, with erect posture. Consequently, tight hip flexors, weak core muscles, shortened hamstrings and heel cords are common issues plaguing cyclists. Our bodies are smart. If you spend a lot of time asking your muscles and joints to perform a certain activity, they oblige, adapting to what you ask of them or do not ask of them. This, potentially, results in pain and discomfort when our bodies develop without symmetry. Notice the addition of ‘potentially’. It is possible to address such issues once the crop up, or even better, cut them off at the pass before they emerge.
This is where physical therapists, particularly the skilled therapists at Willow Grove Physical Therapy, can help. We are trained movement specialists, including those movements required to ride your bike safely, efficiently, and without pain. We are able to perform a comprehensive assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, and functional capacities to establish an exercise routine tailored to your specific needs. If you are having pain while riding, I can just about guarantee you that the latest component offered by your bike shop isn’t the panacea it appears to be. We at WGPT would like to help you to cycle without pain and to assist you in attaining your cycling goals.
Matt Fackner PT, DPT and avid cyclist