CHOOSING A BIKE AND ENJOYING BIKING BENEFITS!

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Tid Bits of Info

  • There are twice as many bikes as cars throughout the world.
  • One hour of vigorous cycling can burn between 590 and 930 calories.
  • Riding a bike is not the most effective way to burn calories, therefore longer workouts are needed.
  • Biking helps with strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility.
  • Seek the treatment of a Physical Therapist if you get injured while riding your bike.

People of all ages can enjoy riding bicycles. From cycling to work to enjoy a ride through the park, bicycling is a cost-effective and low-impact form of exercise. By riding at least two hours or more a week, you’ll see a variety of physical and emotional benefits like increased stamina, better moods, improved joint mobility, and overall strength. Plus, bicycling is a great way to explore your town, the back trails, or even your neighborhood. If you are new to bikes, it is important to choose a model properly fitted to your body.

Biking has been grown in popularity as our population has gotten older.  Many of the Baby Boomers want to remain active but their lower extremity joints cannot take the “pounding” of weight bearing impact activities such as running.  Their desire to perform outdoors cardiovascular exercise is satisfied with biking.  Their joints are spared from impact forces, they strengthen their lower extremities and improve cardiovascular fitness while being outdoors and enjoying their surroundings.

People who want to bike for exercise or commute to work must be outfitted properly.  The most important aspect of biking is to be sure that the bike is properly fitted to your body. This makes the ride more comfortable, less tiring and reduces the frequency of injuries that can occur on an ill-fitted bicycle.  Most experienced bikers get injured due to overuse injuries or injuries sustained in a crash.  Most novice riders get hurt because the bike is improperly fitted to their body. There are thousands of brands of bikes on the market, but basically you have to decide if you are going to purchase a road bike that is designed for long distances and high speeds (narrow tires and “curled handlebars”) or a more basic “hybrid” bike that has wider tires, traditional handlebars and can be used “off-road” if necessary. When fitting any style of bike, the most important aspect to the fit is the height of the bike frame and seat (saddle) and the position of the handlebars.

Saddle Height

When measuring for the saddle height, you should put your heel on the pedal and get to the bottom of the pedal stroke, the knee should be fully extended (straight).  You should be able to pedal comfortably with no excess hip movement while your heels barely stay in contact with the pedals. When you “clip in,” the balls of your feet are on the pedals which allows the knee to bend approximately 25 -35 degrees when performing the pedaling motion.

Bike Frame Size And Handle Bar Position

There is a specific formula that can be used to determine the exact height/size of the bike frame but for most riders, there is an easy way to determine if it is going to “fit”.  The person should stand flat footed with the bike between their legs and the frame should make slight contact with their crotch.  If they have to stand on their “tippy toes” the bike frame is too large.  If the frame does not touch their crotch, it is too small.

Most bikes shops can fit you to your bike in a few minutes.  If you desire to be a “professional” rider and race at high speeds and great distances than you will benefit greatly from an extensive bike fitting done by a well qualified professional.

In the event that you suffer an injury from riding your bike, seek the treatment from a Physical Therapist.  These licensed healthcare professionals are great at assessing your injury and developing a specialized treatment plan for you.  The treatment will reduce your symptoms, correct abnormalities of the musculoskeletal system and help your return to your pre-injury lifestyle as soon as medically possible.   Seeking the help and treatment from the Physical Therapist is simple.  You can go to them without a doctor’s prescription, but your insurance might require that you secure a referral from your primary care physician.

Biking can be done by almost everyone!   The activity is great for all ages and can help develop cardiovascular fitness and lower extremity strength.  The incidence of injuries due to biking can be reduced by providing a properly fitted bike and monitor the amount of riding time. Stay fit and enjoy the health benefits of a consistent exercise routine with biking as a main part of the program.