Many people looking to stay healthy and active turn to cycling, whether as a recreational activity or an alternative method of commuting from place to place. Cycling has been so popular over the decades, in fact, that National Bike to Work Day (#BikeToWorkDay) was started in 1956 and continues today! After all, the old saying says it’s as easy as riding a bike, right?
Unfortunately, a large percentage of cyclists from all age groups and levels experience cycling low back pain, which could be detrimental to your overall health both in the short term and the long-run.
To help keep you healthy and riding onward, we’re taking a look at 6 solutions for cycling back pain from frequent bike rides as we celebrate National Bike to Word Day.
Celebrating National Bike to Work Day (#BikeToWorkDay)
Before we kick off our list of solutions for cycling back pain from frequent bike rides, let’s talk about National Bike to Work Day! Started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists as a way to promote the health benefits of cycling to work, National Bike to Work Day comes at the perfect time as the weather begins to warm up and we can spend more time outside.
While National Bike to Work Day is officially just one day, it makes up part of Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Month. Whether you opt to trade driving for cycling to work for just one day or the entire month, this holiday is a great excuse to stay fit and active. For many, it can also give them the boost they need to continue (or start back up with) their healthy New Year’s resolutions!
Solutions for Cycling Back Pain
All that cycling can really take a toll on the body. In fact, cyclists of all ages and levels frequently experience cycling back pain. The lower back pain cycle enthusiasts experience is so common, in fact, that over half of professional cyclists and one-third of recreational bike users have reported it in various studies.
So what can you do to alleviate cycling low back pain from frequent bike rides? We’ve put together our list of potentially effective solutions for cycling back pain to keep your body in top condition and keep cycling on including:
- Adjust your bike fit
- Strengthen your core
- Get a massage
- Change positions while cycling
- Increase your mobility
- Pace yourself
Adjust Your Bike Fit
One of the simplest solutions for cycling back pain from frequent bike rides is to dial in your fit. Adjusting your bike fit to meet the needs of your body composition can make a huge difference. For example, if your saddle is too high, it can cause your hips to shift left and right while riding, easily leading to cycling low back pain issues. Simultaneously, handlebars being too distant forces you to stretch your back into a more hunched over position, adding excess strain to the lower back.
The simple solution for cycling back pain here? Dial in that bike fit! Ensure you can comfortably reach the handlebars without having to stretch forward to them. You may consider a shorter, high-rise stem or putting spacers under your stem. Also, make sure your saddle is at the right height for optimal cycling body movement. All of these small changes may make a world of difference to help avoid cycling back pain.
Strengthen Your Core
Another of the most common causes of cycling back pain comes from your core muscles. Your core muscles are responsible for almost all of your upright movements from walking to activities like cycling. A weak core forces your body to rely on muscles in the lower body to compensate extra for actions like pedaling.
Working your core muscles isn’t overly complicated. You don’t need fancy equipment or even a gym membership! Simple daily exercises like lunges, planks, stability ball crunches, and ball pushups can all increase your core strength and make your ride easier on your body. It’s a simple solution for cycling back pain allowing you to more easily navigate the forward positioning on your bike.
Getting a Massage for Cycling Back Pain
Where strengthening your core muscles and adjusting bike fit may help you avoid the lower back pain cycle enthusiasts often experience, getting a massage may help with back pain you’re experiencing now. If you’ve ever had a massage then you know they’re far more than a simple self-indulgence. In fact, getting a regular massage can have a wide variety of positive impacts to both your physical and mental health.
For people with busy schedules or who don’t want to make constant appointments, the benefits of massage therapy at home is the way to go! You may be surprised to learn that advancements in luxury massage chairs have effectively eliminated differences between using a massage chair vs human massage. With choices for full body massage chair features including 3D vs 4D massage chairs, S-track vs L-track frames, and a variety of different types of massage programming, cycling back pain could be gone in a flash.
Other massage chair features like the benefits of heat therapy and chromotherapy functions may also enhance your experience. For example, a heated massage chair may help soothe cycling back pain while encouraging better blood flow to rehydrate discs and heal damaged tissue. A zero gravity massage chair could prove to be another great solution to cycling back pain as the zero gravity reclining position alleviates excess pressure from the lower spine and pelvic regions. Choose a massage chair with several of these features, and you’ve got a model that will certainly provide the best massage chair benefits for back pain!
Other benefits of owning a massage chair at home that make them ideal solutions to cycling back pain is that you can use it whenever you want from the privacy of your own home. Instead of trying to schedule an immediate appointment when cycling low back pain flares up, you can simply sit in your full body massage chair and let it get to work. You’ll find a wide variety of massage chairs to meet your needs. You can even have an AI massage chair that offers you a customized massage experience each use to address your body’s needs!
Change Positions While Cycling
Not all solutions for cycling back pain from frequent bike rides are after the fact. A simple adjustment you can make to avoid lower back pain cycle enthusiasts often encounter is to change positions while cycling. Chronic pain injuries are the result of repetitive motions or movements resulting in cumulative stress on the body.
Whether you’re a professional cyclist or a recreational bike rider, it’s important to change positions frequently to avoid that excess stress from building up. Do this by adjusting your riding stance from seating to standing, moving forward or backward on the saddle, and giving your body a break from the same position a few times each hour at least.
Increase Your Mobility
An object in motion tends to stay in motion, right? The same goes for your body! If you’ve led a more sedentary lifestyle or sit at a desk for hours each day, your body likely isn’t staying as loose and limber as it could be. This reduced mobility and flexibility can easily lead to cycling back pain.
Make a habit to do a few stretches each day to keep your body loosened up. Even simple changes like taking a walk during work breaks or using a foam roller to stretch out your back can be immensely beneficial. It’s also a chance to combine solutions for cycling back pain. Using a massage chair for cycling back pain may help improve your mobility and increase flexibility, keeping you ready to ride your bike all over the place!
Last, but not least, on our list of solutions for cycling back pain is simply pacing yourself. You have to learn to walk before you can run, right? So it goes for cycling, as well. Start more slowly with manageable distances, then work your way up to longer distances as your body adjusts to this new activity. Increasing your mileage slowly over time can be a major factor in preventing cycling back pain.
As you can see, solutions for cycling back pain from frequent bike rides can be as simple as making a few small adjustments to your cycling habits and practicing good self-care habits. Taking care of your body is the most important thing when it comes to any athletic activities. Whether you’re participating in cycling events or celebrating National Bike to Work Day with a cycling commute, precautions like adjusting bike fit and choosing a massage chair to help your body recover more efficiently can make a world of difference. Try these solutions for yourself and enjoy your cycling back pain-free!
Want to learn more about the benefits of owning a massage chair and how they could enhance your lifestyle? Check out these resources: