Get into a spin: Why cycling can be a great sport for your body
Cycling is a great all-rounder to add to your exercise regime. It improves your strength, balance and endurance. It can help you build muscle, burn calories, and really get your blood pumping – reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
The bonus? Cycling is a mental wellbeing booster. Not only does it combine physical activity with the outdoors and beautiful scenery, it’s a social sport that encourages you to team up with some mates and ride together. You could even squeeze in a stop at a café for a second breakfast and a chat during your workout!
How to incorporate cycling into your life
Feel like you don’t have time for another sport in your life? Unlike other sports that might require you to exercise at a particular time or venue, cycling can be really flexible and convenient to add to your week. If you already have a bike, you can find time to ride as easily as:
- Ride instead of drive: Do you drive your car to the train station to get to work? Drive the kids to school? Jump in the car to get to the shops, or struggle to find a car park at the beach in summer? Take your bike instead. Get the physical benefits of going for a ride whilst doing a little bit to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Get the blood pumping on a recovery day: Got a day off from the gym? Cycling is a low weight bearing exercise which means it’s an awesome fit for cross-training.
- Weekend fun: Get your family or a bunch of friends together and make an event of it. You can choose one of Sydney’s great bike tracks (see some ideas below) or create your own adventure using Sydney’s Cycleways.
Tips to prevent cycling injuries
As a low weight bearing activity, cycling generally carries a low injury risk for casual or intermediate riders. You can avoid injury by:
- Wearing the required safety equipment (helmet, bright clothing)
- Ensure you maintain your bike (brakes, bell, reflectors, lights)
- Getting your bike fitted to your body before you hit the road
As with any sport, cycling can create tension in your body. Here’s our tips for avoiding common physical niggles:
- Lower Back Pain: Feeling tight in your hips or lower legs? The piriformis muscle – which runs from your sacrum to your thigh bone – can be irritated by cycling. Stretching your lower back and hips can help reduce your risk of pain.
- Knee Pain: This usually occurs if your bike isn’t fitted properly. If you’re feeling pain at the front of the knee, it might be that you saddle is too low. Conversely, if you’re feeling pain behind the knee your saddle might be too high. Lateral pain in your knee can be caused by incorrect cleat set-up. Treat your discomfort with rest, massage, time on the foam roller and ice.
If you’re gearing up with your cycling and becoming more involved in the sport, it’s best to talk to a medical professional or your chiropractor about how to avoid more serious injuries that might affect your enjoyment, or performance, in this amazing sport.
Where to go riding in Sydney
Whether you’re a casual or regular rider, seeing Sydney from behind the handlebars is a real treat. If you’d like to avoid road riding, head out to one of these pretty spots to clear your head or enjoy a ride with friends:
- Centennial Park: Looking for a flat, car-free, shady saunter? Join the 3.8km circuit along ‘Grand Drive’ in beautiful Centennial Park.
- The Bay Run: Stretching 7 kilometres from Rozelle to Birkenhead Point, this easy harbour-hugging path is a top spot for a cycle. Choose a section, or complete the full course – you’ll have plenty of company in local walkers, runners and rollerbladers too.
- Cooks River: Connecting Ryde to Botany Bay, this 23 kilometre path through Sydney’s south west in another great option for a weekend ride. Much of the cycleway follows the historic Cook’s River, and avoids road riding.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain or injury and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.