Why chiro is the cyclist’s best friend
A professional cyclist wouldn’t be without their chiropractor to help with a number of common complaints that are only too prevalent in this sport. No matter what level of cyclist you are, chiropractic can help you stay in the right physical condition to enjoy training, road cycling, spinning, mountain biking or racing – however you like to release those pedalling endorphins.
Spending a lengthy period of time in an anatomically unnatural position, sharing the knocks and bumps of the terrain with your bike’s suspension, using super human strength to conquer relentless hills, not to mention taking the occasional fall or collision – it’s no wonder cyclists have a list of common challenges and injuries.
Cyclists are also prone to transferring some of the sport’s stress into their arms and wrists from the vibration of the ground’s surface and through their own body’s tension.
Chiropractic care can do a number of things to improve the cyclists’ lot. We can work with you to make sure you are at your physical best and fully flexible with excellent nerve function for effective muscle strength. Our non-invasive approach will uncover any areas of your body that need adjustments to make sure you are completely balanced and able to perform to your absolute best. And after your hard work, we can help you to recover through relaxation, spine realignment and working on any wear and tear you may have suffered through your back, hips, knees and ankles.
Another important part of chiropractic care is taking away exercises to do that will support your treatment. Back strengthening and muscle lengthening programmes can be included between appointments so you are continually working on being in the best condition possible. Some muscles are only used in cycling (the outer buttocks for example) so a simple leg raise exercise will prepare these muscles for the road ahead.
Stretching before and after cycling is just as important as it is for all exercise. Warming up and cooling down is vital, no matter how far you are going. Prolonged hypertension can lead to knots in the back and neck – these convert into pain and are really unpleasant. This is a signal that you might also need to rest, relax and stretch during a cycle (unless you’re in the middle of a race of course!).
Make sure you invest time and money on yourself as well as your beloved bike – it’s no good to you unless you can ride it.
It goes without saying that your bike should be an extension of you. Make sure it is the right cycle for your build, height and frame and that it is correctly set up
Vary your cycling, include interval training as well as training on the flat – change your route, terrain and length of ride
Warm up, cool down and drink lots of water – the same for any sport
Eat a well-balanced diet for fuel and to energise your body
Cycling in a group will challenge you and it’s also safer than cycling alone
When cycling and drinking water, tilt the bottle, not your head
Keep your body relaxed when you plunge downhill, if you forget to do this, learn a routine for checking your posture as you descend
Build up your cycling performance in increments – this applies to time in the saddle as well as introducing more challenging terrain – do it slowly, maybe increasing by 10% each week
Work on your whole body fitness – cyclists need to condition their whole bodies, including abdomen and back, for full health and effective results
Regularly changing your hand position from drops to the hoods will help to spread the overall impact on muscle groups