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Get pedalling, but watch your posture!

British cycling had a fantastic year last year, so are you tempted to be the next Bradley or Victoria?

Good for your body and soul

The phenomenal international successes of British elite cyclists last year is predicted to lead to a cycling boom, whether as means of getting to work, as a fitness routine or as a competitive sport. Cycling is good for your heart and good for your body, as most of the main muscle groups are worked when you go for a pedal. But, it is a repetitive activity and overuse can give rise to these five common ailments:
- neck pain
- tingling in the arms and hands
- shoulder aches
- low back pain
- knee pain

Speak to the experts

As with all sports, getting advice from the experts is the best way to prevent injury. The single most important thing I would say to my chiropractic patients is that they should get a professional to set the bike up correctly in the first place, this alone will save you hours of aching, sore muscles.

Then there's your posture

Then there's your cycling posture....this is somewhat confusing as there many websites that give conflicting advice. If you are an amateur then, as with all postures, I would say that varying your posture is positive approach. Elite cyclists may need to adopt different postures to optimise race potential, as their coaches prefer. As a general rule of thumb avoid sitting on your bike with your arms locked; back curved into a 'hump' and neck extended and strained in order to see! This position can cause the vertebrae in your neck to be compressed and all the muscles in the back and shoulders get tight. Try to achieve a straight 'neutral' spine (get a friend to take some pics of you so you have an idea of what you look like). Try tucking your chin in and flattening the lower part of your spine, but don't 'dip' your low back too much as this can also lead to low back pain. You need to flex your elbows slightly so that they act as shock absorbers which saves your neck being subjected to so much shock and you will be able to assume a more comfortable riding position.

Finally, in the words of Einstein

"Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving".