For some, summer brings a renewed interest in outdoor physical activities like rollerblading, biking and running. We tune up our car in the summer so it can handle the heat and to keep it running efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, we often embark or engage in physical activity without a proper health tune-up and a check of our fitness equipment before the season starts. It is recommended to have a health or physical examination once a year especially prior to engaging in any type of physical activity. Your exercise equipment, in this case your bicycle, should be checked by a professional to ensure that everything is working properly.
Start the season off with a visit to your doctor to have a physical. Make it a habit to check your blood pressure, have blood tests, and test your blood sugar and check your cholesterol. A visit to a physiotherapist for any nagging pains or injuries you might have sustained over the winter is also recommended. The tweaked knee while skiing, or mild groin pull at volleyball or back pain from doing some home renovations during the winter could all potentially lead to chronic pain or injury if not evaluated and treated properly. Although they might not be painful at this time, joint stiffness, muscle weakness, decreased flexibility and proprioception may have set in and are all factors that during exercise can lead to injury and a recurrence or your pain. Cycling requires a strong and stable back, shoulder, arms and leg muscles. Weakness or pain in any of these areas create imbalances in the cycling stroke and can lead to bad posture and injury. Injuries typically associated with cycling include leg muscle strains, knee tendinopathy and shoulder, neck and back strains. The professionals at Kinatex are specialists in sports medicine and orthopaedic injuries and will evaluate and treat your injury to ensure you have regained full function, strength, mobility and flexibility before you hop on the bike.
Don’t forget to ask about a proper warm-up and flexibility training before getting on the bike.
It is recommended to have your equipment checked and evaluated to ensure they are safe to use. A proper bike tune-up involves repair to the tire alignment, pressure and tread wear, chain tightening and creasing, brake and gear adjustments. If you are new to cycling then a lesson on cycling posture, foot-pedal alignment and the pedal stroke and hand positioning is a good idea. These are very important factors in injury prevention. Seat height is also a very important adjustment as it ensures proper body and bike alignment for most efficient use. Learn how to maintain your bike on a regular basis and to recognize possible areas in need of repair. Make it a point to also invest in the proper cycling helmet, reflectors and clothing especially for night riding. Also don’t forget the water bottle holder.
Although minor in detail, proper functioning equipment avoids many potential injury risks. We constantly see injuries associated with overuse or injuries due to improperly functioning equipment whether it is the bike seat height or a muscle weakness that leads to an altered posture and strain. So take the time to ensure that the equipment is functioning properly and that also means the body. So make a regular date on your spring calendar, right beside the winter tire change and car tune-up, for body and fitness equipment tune-up as well.