Can cycling damage your pelvis?
While riding your bike, the long-term pressure directed to the pelvic floor muscles and nerves can cause trauma to the pelvic structures. This includes increased muscle tightness and shortening, nerve damage, and pelvic / lower back pain.
Benefits of Cycling
A wonderful feature of cycling and spinning exercise is that it helps you to exercise and support your pelvic floor. This support can allow you to exercise at higher levels of intensity which is great, especially if you are seeking to improve your fitness or lose weight.
Cycling will help strengthen your legs
It targets your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. To make your legs even stronger and enhance your cycling performance, try doing weightlifting exercises, such as squats, leg presses, and lunges, a few times per week ( 3 ).
Higher handlebars may help improve upright sitting position and decrease anterior pelvic tilt. Biking is a dynamic activity that engages your arms, core, hips, legs, and pelvis, and balances all of that on two wheels. And who better to assess all of these moving parts than a movement specialist!
Hip pain that gets worse as you cycle may be bursitis. If you cycle several times a week or for many miles at a time, you could end up with some overuse injuries. The ongoing, repetitive movement of the hip joint causes wear and tear, and ultimately some damage and pain.
It's not just women who have to take care of their pelvic floor, it's important for men too. Incontinence, lower back pain and erectile dysfunction can all result from a weakened pelvic floor, and if you're a keen cyclist the excess pressure on the area when you're sat in the saddle can exacerbate the problem.
Despite these benefits, cycling commonly leads to injury, with up to 85% of all recreational cyclists citing an overuse injury. Given unbalanced pressure distribution when on the bike, the neck, hands, wrists, lower back, knees, and perineum are the regions most frequently affected by cycling.
Most pelvic fractures happen during high-speed accidents (such as car or motorcycle crashes) or falls from great heights. Pelvic fractures can also occur spontaneously or after minor falls in people with bone-weakening diseases such as osteoporosis.
Kegels are a great way to train your pelvic muscle by contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor. To perform this exercise, you must: Position yourself comfortably, whether you are sitting or standing. Be sure to maintain the normal inward curve of your lower spine.
To strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, sit comfortably and squeeze the muscles 10 to 15 times. Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, bottom or thigh muscles at the same time. When you get used to doing pelvic floor exercises, you can try holding each squeeze for a few seconds.
Can working out hurt your pelvis?
Over-exercising often causes injuries in the hips and pelvis, with conditions usually coexisting. Pain may also be felt in the lower abdomen, back and thighs as a related duller pain.
By putting in consistent effort, you'll notice an improvement in your aerobic capacity, enabling you to bike longer or on more intense rides. You might also feel higher energy levels throughout the day, because exercise helps boost your overall stamina. Getting your heart rate up doesn't have to be hard on your joints.
Cycling improves cardiovascular health by increasing lung capacity and burning fat across your whole body, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure and therefore improving blood circulation. Riding a bike strengthens the muscles of the legs and glutes.
Cycling every day is a great way to lose weight and body fat if those are your fitness goals. High-intensity but low-impact, cycling provides all the benefits of HIIT without taxing your joints.
The new way: When you sit comfortably in the saddle, you should be able to easily reach the tops and brake hoods on a road bike, or the grips on a mountain bike. Your elbows should be slightly bent, not locked. And the lean of your torso should be supported by your core in a comfortable position.
Hips should be parallel to the ground – not tilted to either side. Seat at the correct height so that leg is straight when heel is placed on the pedal. Then, when foot is correctly placed on the pedal, knee will be slightly bent, which is ideal for efficient pedalling.
Honestly, the main disadvantage will be time. Cycling can take time. Also, it may present a little tightness in your lower and/or upper back from the constant motion of being hunched over. However, cycling is light impact on the knees as you are never fully extending and locking out.
Hip pain in cyclists can be due to a number of pathologies including bursitis, snapping hip syndrome, impingement syndrome, labral tears or piriformis syndrome.
The most common cycling associated urogenital problems are nerve entrapment syndromes which most commonly present as numbness through genitalia and/or erectile dysfunction. This symptom is reported in 50-91% of cyclists worldwide. This can be an effect of overuse, or simply performing activity too much or for too long.
Heavy or repeated lifting - causes increases in abdominal pressure which may put your pelvic floor muscles under strain. High impact exercise - heavy weights-based and very vigorous gym activities with jumping can overload your pelvic floor muscles.
How can I protect my pelvic floor?
- Exhale during lifting. ...
- Avoid excessive coughing. ...
- Avoid constipation. ...
- Exercise your pelvic floor and core. ...
- Rehabilitate other injuries.
Cycling for exercise or as a hobby can increase muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness, and has no proven negative effect on lower urinary tract symptoms or erectile dysfunction.
Experts suggest that frequent short training sessions are more effective than infrequent long sessions. Adults between 18 to 64 years should perform moderate intensity physical activity for two and a half years every week to stay fit. But if you are cycling, then you must do it for at least 30 to 45 minutes every day.
Cycling for 15 to 20 minutes per day has some important health benefits. The effort and intensity of your cycling will dictate how far these benefits go, but even 15-minutes of gentle exercise is beneficial for overall health.
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults aged 18-64 years should indulge in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week to stay healthy. What many do not know is that a daily cycle ride of only 20 minutes is sufficient to achieve this target!