Pilates Can Help
The warmer weather is finally here. It is time to dust off that bike and get the body moving. Biking is one of the best forms of low impact aerobic exercise during these warmer months. Whether you are training for a 100 mile bike ride or you are just a casual weekend rider, Pilates can help you become a stronger biker, less susceptible to injury. Did you know that one of the most common injuries a cyclist can sustain is a lower back injury? This injury is usually a gradual one. It begins when you start to feel a little bit stiff in the lower back after a long ride. It can then progress to soreness in the lower back. Then one day you may feel an occasional twinge of pain. If you ignore these early signs of lower back stress, it can become a full blown back injury. One where you find you cannot straighten up well enough to walk, much less ride a bike. The main cause of back stiffness, soreness and pain in cyclists is the poor posture this sport requires for an extended period of time. Most bikers spend at least 2 hours per ride in a seated, usually slumped, position. That prolonged seated position places stress on the discs and ligaments of the spine. While there is little one can do to alter the seated position biking requires, there are definitely things one can do to prevent this sport from wreaking havoc on your lower back.
Here are three things every cyclist should do to help prevent a lower back injury:
- Take time during and after each ride to reverse the stresses of that slumped position. To reverse this lower back stress, try stepping off your bike. Place your hands on your lower back and arch backwards 10x. Then at the end of the ride, lie down on your stomach, propping up on your elbows for 3-5 minutes.
- Take time to strengthen your core muscles. Between rides, do exercises that strengthen your abdominals and lower back muscles. The stronger your core muscles are, the longer you can sustain better posture while you are sitting.
- Stretch, stretch, stretch…..Between rides, take time to stretch your lower back, your hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, your mid back and your chest. These are all the muscles that become tight when you are riding.
Pilates is a great way to cross train between rides. Pilates addresses both core strength and flexibility. It is the strength and endurance of both their back muscles and scapular muscles that can help them sustain a good seated posture on those long rides.
Have you ever witnessed the posture of a fatigued cyclist?
Their lower back is usually rounded, their head is protruding forward and they are collapsing into their shoulder blades.
Here are several ways Pilates can make you a better cyclist:
- Pilates Builds Core Strength
- Pilates Promotes Good Posture Awareness
- Pilates Improves Flexibility
- Pilates Improves Upper Body Strength
- Pilates Teaches You Better Balance
- Pilates Enhances Your Ability to Concentrate on the Task at Hand
- Pilates Improves Your Ability to Breathe Deeper
- Pilates Increases Leg Strength and Hip Mobility
Pilates helps you become more aware of your body and what each part is doing…both on and off the bike. This heightened awareness allows you correct your riding form, which improves your speed, power and enjoyment of riding.
Schedule your private Pilates sessions today and see how it can make you a stronger, more powerful cyclist. Making you less susceptible to injury tomorrow.