Australia joins the list of countries with the highest number of sports injuries. In the same breath, its knee reconstruction injuries have remarkably risen by roughly 70% within the young age group in the past decade and a half.
Cycling is a common source of knee injury, besides athletic sports. This then ignites the interest of the public to practice safety when cycling.
Because knees are important, and nearly every household owns an indoor exercise bike, this article puts together tips and steps to help prevent knee pain.
Find the right bike size
Not all cycling bikes are made equal. They vary in height, design, and functionality. Among regular cyclists, about 65% experience knee pain as one study reports. And knee pain is likely to be caused by wrong bike size.
For instance, pain in the knee cap (the patella) is linked to quad problems. Remember that quad muscles are attached to the shin through the patella and pumping strains this joint area.
So it is important that you check the saddle height when you purchase exercise bikes. You saddle must neither be too low, increasing the pressure at the knee top every stroke, nor too high that the cranks appear long for your leg, also tightening the knee cap.
Practice modicum power
Do not pump way more than necessary. It’s easy to get agitated to cycle faster and harder in the hopes of achieving visible results. But doing so is risky.
You need to honour your pace. Build your mileage gradually, especially after a long time of inactivity. Otherwise, you’ll end up with torn tissues, inflamed joints, or maybe even bruises.
Mind your position
How you cycle also matters, and this is sometimes a function of posture, not bike size. Again, avoid getting carried away by adrenaline rush, and habitually check your hip, arms, legs, and back position. Having a mirror certainly helps.
Yet simply executing slow, deliberate cycles also pays off. Your body must not lean too forward or backward, causing constricted or overstretched knees and hamstrings respectively.
With these position errors, you might end up having slowed performance and pain at the back of your knees.
Trainers also advise cyclists to mind the rhythm. There is a reason why music and cycling are normally put together by trainers. Music allows cyclists to ride melodically, creating a pattern of smooth cycles.
This is basic, warming up. As with any other exercise and physical activity, body conditioning is essential to prevention of injuries. Don’t readily increase the elevation and speed. Spare at least 15 minutes of easy spinning and stretching.
Dress the part
Indoor cyclists often forget this critical precautionary measure, thinking that training indoors doesn’t require an audience anyway.
Dressing inappropriately can lead to knee injuries so wear the right clothing – stretchable, fitting, non-absorbent garments are perfect. Invest in good cleats and pads as well for optimum cycling performance. And no flip flops please.
Cycling is a great form of exercise, no doubt. It builds leg power, endurance, and cardiovascular performance. But cycling shouldn’t jeopardise your knees and legs. Mind your knees and you will go miles with your fitness performance.
Also, you may want to check out these beginner exercise tips if you are keen to try outdoor cycling to help you get the best out of your workout.