It’s Bike Month – cycle safely, without pain or injury

BC Physiotherapists share 4 tips to prevent injury, alleviate pain and keep cyclists moving for life.

Vancouver, BC May 27, 2011 | June is Bike Month and this year’s theme is bike safety. While riding, cyclists need to be aware and cautious about traffic and other hazards at all times. Additionally, cyclists should also be aware of how their body feels while riding. The Physiotherapy Association of BC wants to remind cyclists that cycling should be about safe enjoyment, not pain.

“Unfortunately, some cyclists experience pain in the neck, back, saddle region, wrists, hands, knees and feet. This can lead to other issues that may result in harm to a cyclist’s overall physical well being and enjoyment of the sport,” says Rebecca B. Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC (PABC). Tunnacliffe, who cycles from her home on Bowen Island to her office in Kitsilano and participates in cycling events like the Grand Fondo and Ride to Conquer Cancer, is keenly aware of the benefits of cycling. “By following some simple steps, that we call the Physio-4, cyclists can reduce their chances for injury, prevent pain and ride safely,” she explains.

The Physio-4 for Cycling:

1. Select a bike that fits. An ill-fitting bike causes pain. A bike that fits – frame size, pedal alignment, handlebar position and saddle height – promotes good posture. Your physio can provide tips on correct bike fit and can correct poor mechanics before pain and injury develop.

2. Choose cycling if you have osteoarthritis in your hips, knees or feet. The non-impact, rhythmic motion helps reduce joint pain and stiffness and keeps your muscles strong. Your physio can prescribe a cycling program and help you choose the right bike.

3. The aerobic benefits of cycling help to manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Cycling builds stamina.  Your physio can help determine the right level of aerobic exercise and develop a program to meet your goals.

4. Stretch and strengthen off your bike to improve on-bike performance. Your physio can create a program to treat muscles that are prone to tightness as well as help you strengthen areas such as your core to dramatically improve your cycling efficiency.

It’s also important to remember to always wearing a helmet and fluorescent clothing by day and reflective clothing at night.  After dark and in the rain, cyclists should ensure they have lights that work – white for the front and red for the back. Cyclists should also be vigilant about what’s on the road and be on the lookout for car doors being opened by motorists.

The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. “Each month, on our website (movingforlife.ca), we will provide 4 tips for a specific activity or health issue relating to that month to help keep British Columbians moving for life,” announces Tunnacliffe.  “We want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, we are the rehab professional physicians recommend most,” she states.

The PABC wishes all British Columbians a happy and safe Bike Month.

To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca