Being a biker is such a flex. You get to travel miles while burning off the calories. It strengthens your body muscles and improves your cardiovascular health.
But hey, that's one side to it. As a biker, you are prone to some common health problems. Pretty sure you want to know what these health problems are. Right?
In this article, we will show you 10 common health problems bikers face and tips on how to overcome them. If you want to have a good cycling experience, remember to bring your bike helmet and bike light to ensure safety, and read this article carefully, it can help you avoid a lot of trouble.
Biking requires you to flex your back for some time, thereby placing many demands on your neck. When you are biking without properly sitting or biking on a badly patched road, this can get your head tipped upward. It can result in neck pain.
Overextending your neck and poking your chin forwards places compression on the lower joints of your neck. This causes neck pain.
When biking on a mountain, there is a serious exertion of pressure on your neck and shoulder. This causes the muscles around the head to overwork themselves while supporting the head. The effect of this is neck pain.
Also, when the bike does not properly fit your body, this can result in neck pain. Especially, when the handle bar's height is too lower or higher. Note that neck pain can degenerate into more serious health issues such as migraine, headaches, etc.
To avoid neck pain and its effects, sit properly when biking. Slide your shoulder blades down your upper back and slightly lift your chest. Pull your stomach in, towards your lower back.
If your bike or electric bike does not properly fit you, change it or adjust it. Adjust the cleats, seat height, pedal, and handlebar height to properly fit your body. When biking, always try relaxing your shoulders. Also, always change your position regularly to reduce muscle fatigue.
Biking requires that you keep hitting the pedal to get going. Energy is transferred from the body to the foot to keep pedaling.
When you are biking without a shoe or a proper shoe with a stable shark, so much energy can transfer to the foot. This can cause the foot to collapse while pedaling. Foot pain can further result in several other health challenges such as calluses, blisters, etc.
To avoid foot pain, use durable shoes that perfectly fit your legs. The shoes should have stable sharks. This will help in transferring energy from the feet to the pedal.
Note that if you will be biking on a rough path, mountains or hills, you will need a more durable shoe. You can get some padded socks too.
Cycling has many benefits, however, 23-33% of bikers have suffered knee pain at one time or other. It is caused by various factors such as improper biking position, biking on rough paths, ill-fitting bikes, etc.
Biking involves repetitive motion and position which can strain the legs. When your body is in a too forward position, this puts the body and the knee at a strained angle. The effect of this is knee pain.
When the bike is either too tall or too short for you, this can cause knee pain. Also, when you bike for too long a distance than your body can withstand, your body can get strained. This results in pain and inflammation.
Similarly, when the saddle of the bike is too low, there will be additional stress on the patellofemoral joint. This makes the knee angle gets tighter than necessary. Conversely, when the saddle is too high, the iliotibial band and the hamstring tendon will be overstressed.
Always check the saddle to see if it is not too low or high for the body. This is to prevent excess stress on the knee. Also, the saddle should suit the handlebars. Preferably, the saddle should allow 27 to 37 degrees of knee flexion.
Also, adjust the bike to suit your body size. Adjust the clear so the knee can align with the feet. This will prevent excess stress on your knees. Avoid always biking excess distance than your body is used to.
When you sit in an uncomfortable position while biking, it can result in back pain. Tilting towards a side of the bike more than the others can cause excess strain on the back.
When the saddle is not properly placed, this can lead to unnecessary top tube length. This can eventually lead to lower back pain. Also, biking on a tough path increases jarring and compression to the spine. This can also result in back pain.
To avoid back pain, adjust your bike to suit your height. Adjust the handlebar so it is not too high or low. Also, the saddle should not be too far back or forward.
Avoid hunching forward while biking. Pull your stomach towards the lower back. Also, slide your shoulder blade down your upper back and slightly lift your chest.
Biking on rough surfaces can lead to ankle pain. The continuous motion of pedaling adds excess strain on the body. This causes inflammation of the tendons in the ankle, thereby causing ankle pain.
Also, if the pedal cleats are too forward and the saddle is high, this can cause ankle pain. Too-high saddles overstress tendons of the ankle. This leads to ankle pain. If the cleats are wrongly placed, the feet can become too toed-in or toed-out during pedaling.
To avoid this, ensure the saddle is not too high. Check the cleat too to see if it is properly placed. To properly place the cleat, its (the foot) middle should be under the ball of the foot.
Cycling causes sustained pressure on some parts of the body like the hand and the feet. This may disrupt blood flow to the nerves. The nerves send abnormal sensory information to the brain. This results in numbness. Numbness at the hand or the finger is known as handlebar palsy.
Also sitting on the bike for too long affects the perineum. In males, the perineum is the area between the anus and the base of the penis. In females, it is the area between the anus and the vagina.
When you sit too long on the bike, there is compression in the nerves around the perineum. This results in numbness and sexual dysfunction.
Due to excess pressure on the feet, biking can also cause numb feet.
Cycling does not directly cause infertility. However, it can negatively impair the sperm, causing low sperm count and poor sperm motility.
The normal temperature for spermatogenesis is 5°F cooler than the body temperature. Cycling generates more heat than this.
Prolonged cycling causes high heat around the scrotum. This results in increased testicular metabolism which damages the sperm.
Also, wearing cycling pants that are too tight can cause high temperatures in the scrotum and testes. The compression of the testes also reduces blood flow and negatively affects the sperm. It causes pressure on the scrotum.
To avoid this, avoid extremely tight-fitting clothes. While biking, consider standing up at intervals to avoid compression. Also, consider using the no-nose bicycle saddle. Be sure your shorts have a chamois to protect you.
Biking can increase inflammation which causes high prostate-specific antigen. This affects male bikers, especially older bikers.
The continuous and excessive compression of the perineum can lead to higher inflammation of the prostate. Also, the testosterone level increases immediately after strenuous exercise. This causes a rise in prostate cancer.
To avoid prostatitis, avoid carcinogenic substances and refined sugar. Also, change position while biking. Change the height of the body at intervals.
This is one of the common health problems faced by female bikers The compression in the nerves around the perineum results in chronic injury to the urinary system.
Also, when bikers wear tight-fitting clothes, it puts pressure on the pelvic floor muscle. This causes increased leaks, over-activity of the bladder, and even fungal infection.
Avoid wearing too tight clothes when biking. Also, don't push the biking too far. Bike moderately. Also, stand intermittently while biking.
These are painful skin lesions formed due to contact with the biking seat. It is a tender spot in the body part that rubs the saddle. It can be in the form of an ingrown hair, pimple, or bacteria-filled pore.
It is usually caused by abrasion of the skin due to friction.
When you notice saddle soreness, you should take a break from biking. Or at least, bike within a short distance occasionally. Apply topical ointments to the affected body part. Consider changing your saddle too.
In this article, we have taken you through the 10 common health problems bikers face. These include neck pain, foot pain, ankle pain, numbness, etc.
Notwithstanding these, biking is still the go-to sport for a healthy body. You can always guard against these health problems by following the tips noted above. So, do not stop biking!