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Injury Prevention

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Most training or overuse injuries can be prevented by following a proper training program. Be sure to warm up and stretch those muscles before you use them in a workout. And don’t forget to stretch them again once you are finished.

Most of the injuries that require treatment on the event are related to knees, feet, ankles, tendons and muscle groups. To a lesser degree, we see sore necks and backs and some hand numbness. All of these are totally avoidable.

The single most important thing you can do to prevent most of these injuries is to have your bike professionally fit to you. An improper seat height alone can wreak havoc on knees, legs and Achilles. These types of injuries don’t just happen during one day of riding. It is the repetitive nature of cycling on an improperly fit bike that creates the injury. So one day you could be fine, and the next day, your knee is sore. This doesn’t happen during just one day of riding. Your body is resilient and will try to heal itself until pushed beyond its limits.

Do not push yourself past your own ability or endurance level. For example, you find someone you like riding with, but your average speed is 10 miles per hour (mph), while theirs is 15. Riding with someone who is slightly faster or more skilled than you are can be just the thing to help push you gently to that next level of performance. However, trying to keep up with a much faster cyclist will only serve to frustrate your cycling psyche and put your body at risk for overuse or over-performance injury. Your knees will be the first part of your body to let you know this wasn’t a good idea. The injuries that could occur will most likely stop you from continuing your training while you heal. That’s valuable time lost that you won’t get back.

Hill climbing is another area can cause problems even for the most avid of cyclists. Your wisest decision is to spin (use your easiest gears) up a hill. This expends far less energy than trying to “power up” those hills and your knees will definitely thank you for it. Powering up a hill might work for one or two days, but remember, you will be riding for seven days and over many hills. Here again, it is important to remember that LifeCycle is a RIDE, not a race, and there is no prize for the Cyclist who reaches the top first.  Avoid those injuries–slow down and enjoy the scenery.

Originally posted 2012-03-26 09:43:38.

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