Healthy Living

How to stay pain free on a bicycle

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If you’re thinking about taking up biking this summer because you heard it takes stress off your knees, be warned: you could be getting a pain in the back.

Bicycling is a great form of low impact exercise because it’s easy on the joints, especially since you don’t put as much stress on your legs as you do during other forms of cardio, but also serves as a great aerobic exercise that uses nearly every muscle of the leg.

But if you’ve ever seen a pro cyclist wince after sitting up straight following a long ride, you know that one drawback of cycling is what it can do to your back.

Back pain from bicycling can be the result of a variety of factors, so we’ve listed the most common below along with how to alleviate them:

1) Get fit

The first place to look when you have back pain is how your bicycle fits you. If you’re suffering from back pain post-ride, take your bicycle into a bike shop and have them adjust your bike. If it’s already the correct size, a few tweaks may be all you need.

The ideal set up is for you to comfortably be able to reach your bars from an upright position. The elbows should have a slight bend.

2) Start off slow

If you’re new to riding, start off for only 10 or so minutes at a leisurely pace. Continue to increase your minutes on the bike every time you ride until you’ve built up the strength and endurance necessary.

3) More core

Strengthening your core is a great way to alleviate back pain while riding. Your abs and lower back are the foundation for all movement in a bicycle, including the pedal stroke. This causes your hips to seesaw, and your back to ache. You can find a million core exercises to do online, but the main point is not to let core training slip while you’re bicycling for exercise.