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How Cycling Boosts Health and Happiness

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The cycling season is in full swing. Like walking, cycling is a popular aerobic activity that boosts cardiovascular health and strengthens the lower body, making it a favorite exercise for many. However, it’s important to note that cycling has a high risk of accidents, and improper posture can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. To minimize these risks, beginners should practice sufficiently and become comfortable with cycling before taking to the roads.

Refreshing and exercising simultaneously

Cycling down a breezy street refreshes your mood and provides an excellent cardiovascular workout. Cycling helps improve endurance and cardiovascular function, strengthens the lower body, and burns calories, making it great for weight loss.

High risk of collarbone fractures in collisions

The most common causes of injuries while riding are slipping or tripping over objects. Riders often collide with trees or walls while trying to avoid pedestrians. These accidents can result in minor injuries, such as bruises or scrapes. However, if you fall or collide and land on your shoulder, the impact can lead to a collarbone fracture.

How do we prevent injuries?

To prevent collarbone injuries, avoid speeding excessively and maintain a moderate pace. Also, avoid sudden movements or abrupt changes in direction. Remember that it can be dangerous to use brakes after entering a corner, so slow down before you approach a turn.

What if your knees and waist always hurt when cycling?

Prolonged cycling can cause knee pain. The pain in your knee while cycling is related to your saddle height. If the saddle is too low, it can cause pain in the front of the knee, and if it’s too high, it can cause pain in the back of the knee. If you feel pain on the outside and side of your knee, you likely have iliotibial band syndrome, which damages the tissue connecting your hip, thigh, and upper shin.

What is the appropriate saddle height?

If the saddle is set too low, it causes excessive bending of the knees, straining them and potentially irritating the inside of the knee joint. Continuous cycling in this condition may weaken the knee cartilage, leading to conditions like chondromalacia or instability. On the other hand, a saddle that is too high can strain the back of the knees and force you to hunch over, putting an extra burden on your waist. Ideally, the saddle should be adjusted so that your knee is slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest point, ensuring a more comfortable and safer ride.

Damage to waist muscles and ligaments

Falling off a bike or colliding with another object can also injure the muscles and ligaments in your waist. Sudden sprains can cause severe pain, making lifting your leg difficult and uncomfortable or maintaining a straight posture. Also, if you have a herniated disc and ride for long periods, the condition could worsen, so caution is needed.

Place your feet in the center of the pedal

When you put your feet on the pedal, place it so that the center of the ball of your foot aligns with the center of the pedal. This position allows for efficient power transfer and reduces fatigue during long rides. Be careful not to spread or narrow your legs excessively when pedaling. Pedaling with a gear that is too heavy can damage your knee joints. Therefore, it’s recommended to do enough warm-up exercises before cycling and to pedal with a light and brisk feeling.

Lift your hips every 30 minutes

If you regularly cycle for long periods, you may experience symptoms like frequent urination, residual urine, and painful urination. To prevent this, it’s good to take breaks instead of riding for long periods. One method is to lift your hips every 30 minutes while cycling. Adding a soft cushion to your saddle can also help, and it’s good to take a warm sitz bath for 10-15 minutes after cycling.

Helmets are essential

Everyone knows you should wear a helmet when cycling, yet many people neglect to do so. Just wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of injury. If you cycle improperly and hit your head, it can result in brain damage and even lead to death, so caution is needed. It’s best to choose a lightweight helmet that fits your head perfectly. Additionally, knee pads and night lights can help prepare for fall accidents.

Be careful of tire punctures

If you’re a frequent cyclist, covering long distances, or using your bike daily, you must get regular check-ups at a nearby bike repair shop. Misaligned or malfunctioning parts such as wheels, chains, pedals, or brakes can significantly increase the risk of accidents. During the summer months, particular attention should be paid to your tires. Higher external temperatures can heat the asphalt to about 10℃ above the ambient air temperature, increasing the pressure inside your bike’s tires. This makes them more susceptible to punctures from even small nails or stones, leading to tire deformation and potentially dangerous situations. Regular maintenance can help prevent these issues and ensure a safer ride.

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