I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits of cycling: it’s a great exercise, can help with weight loss and is all-around good for your health.
But many people may not know that too much cycling could be bad for them.
Read on to learn more about how overdoing it on the bike can affect your body and what you should do if you notice any symptoms.
How much cycling is too much?
Depending on the individual, it’s hard to put a number on how much cycling is too much.
We’re all unique and have different bodies that react differently to exercise.
However, there are some signs you should look out for if you think your cycling may be getting out of hand.
Physical Symptoms of Cycling Overuse Injuries
One common issue with cyclists is neck pain, ranging from mild discomfort to chronic headaches caused by muscle tension in the neck muscles.
This usually comes about due to hunching over while riding; one side has more pressure, driving uneven muscle development.
Fixing this requires physical therapy or massage combined with improving posture (try not hunching!).
Another issue that can occur is a pain in the hands and wrists.
This is usually due to cyclists gripping the handlebars too tightly, which puts a lot of pressure on these small joints.
Pain here can also be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, so if you’re noticing tingling or numbness in your fingers, it might be worth getting this checked out by a professional.
I’m sure we don’t have to tell you that cycling puts strain on your thighs and calves.
If you’re feeling pain in either of these areas after cycling, you’ve likely overdone it and need to take a break.
Continuing to cycle through this pain will only aggravate the injury and lead to long-term damage.
READ MORE ABOUT: How can you prevent injury while cycling?
Cycling too much can also cause sciatica (pain, tingling or numbness that starts in the low back and runs down one leg), usually due to prolonged pressure on the piriformis muscle.
This small muscle sits deep within your glutes, and if you’ve got a bike seat that’s not adjusted correctly, it could be putting extra strain here, so make sure your saddle is level with your hip bones.
How do I know if I’m cycling too much?
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then you might want to look at how often you’re cycling.
Cycling every day for an hour may seem like great exercise, but it can put more damage than good on certain parts of the body; this type of repetitive cycling can lead to overuse injuries.
So if you’re finding that your knees, neck or hands are aching after riding, then it’s probably time to take a break.
It would help if you also were wary of any numbness in the fingers that could indicate carpal tunnel syndrome, so get this looked at by a professional.
If you have continued pain for more than two weeks despite taking some time off from cycling, then consider seeing an orthopaedic surgeon about potential damage and treatment options.
When is cycling not bad?
Cycling isn’t always bad for you, but when done incorrectly (like every day!)It may cause problems with joints & muscles.
However, there are times where cyclists come up against unfair criticism- our society has put pressure on people to exercise more and cycling is seen as a great way to get fitter.
But even though it’s good for your heart.
It can also cause issues with knees & joints, so try adding weights/resistance training into your routine if cycling alone isn’t cutting it anymore.
Start with a short bike ride to get your muscles warmed up.
Then do a set of squats, lunges or step-ups.
Finish up with some upper body exercises like push-ups, rows or bicep curls.
Not only will this help to improve your cycling performance, but it will also prevent you from overusing any one muscle group.
Ride at a moderate pace
This will help you stay in the ‘zone, not too fast and not too slow.
Ride for around 30 minutes.
Don’t go overboard.
If you’re cycling too much, it can cause significant issues with joints & muscles, so pay attention to how your body reacts after every ride.
Talk to an orthopaedic surgeon or physical therapist if pain persists.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, then maybe take a break from riding and add some upper body exercises into your routine instead.
Not only will this improve your performance on two wheels.
But it’ll also prevent overusing certain muscle groups, which may lead to injuries down the line.
Start by warming up properly before hopping back on your bike, then finish off with squats, lunges or step-ups.
Ride at a moderate pace for around 30 minutes to feel the benefits.
Remember, cycling isn’t always bad for you, but it’s essential to be aware of too much.
If you’re feeling pain in any areas after cycling, then take a break and try adding some upper body exercises into your routine.
This will help improve your cycling performance while also preventing overuse injuries. Happy pedalling.
Tips for how to keep your cycling healthy and enjoyable
- Listen to your body. Take a break and let your body heal if you’re feeling any pain. Continuing to cycle through this pain will only aggravate the injury and lead to long-term damage.
- Make sure your bike is fitted correctly for you. This means adjusting the saddle height, handlebar position & reach etc. so that you’re in a comfortable place while cycling.
- Take regular breaks from cycling. Even if you feel like you can keep going, it’s essential to give your body some time off from the repetitive strain of cycling. A day or two without riding should be enough to allow your muscles & joints to recover.
- Add resistance training into your routine. Cycling alone can be great for cardiovascular health, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Adding some weights or resistance training into your routine will help to strengthen your muscles and protect them from injury.
- Don’t cycle for a long time. As we’ve already mentioned, cycling for a long time can lead to overuse injuries if you’re not careful. Try cycling 30-60minutes a day instead and mix up your routine with other exercises too.
Remember, just because cycling is good for you doesn’t mean you should do it all the time.
Listen to your body & take regular breaks to stay healthy & enjoy your rides.
Cycling is one of the best exercises for cardiovascular health.
It’s also a great way to burn calories and tone your muscles while increasing endurance.
If you’re starting, start with some light cardio exercise like jogging or jumping rope before cycling so that your body can adjust to an increased workload gradually.
More time on the bike will increase muscle strength in the legs, which means less stress on joints over time.
You’ll be riding strong in no time at all.