Considering how bikers work their legs quite hard on those pedals, many people assume that knee injuries are the most common when it comes to cycling - whether on a regular bicycle or electric bike. This may be surprising to most people, but the most common area that gets affected is actually the lower back, causing pain in the area.
In this post, your reliable electric bike company discusses how cycling can affect the lower back and how you can prevent it:
How Cycling Affects the Lower Back
Cycling is mostly a lower-body activity, but it is the lower back that feels the most pressure. The reason for this is that the body can maintain a posture that allows the knees to be bent all the time while the body leans forward, which puts pressure on the lower back.
It depends on the style of cycling you are into as well. If you are a leisure cyclist or cycle primarily for fun and pleasure, as opposed to a training cyclist, you can suffer less from lower back pain because you are not leaning forward. Two of the main causes of lower back pain are poor posture and excessive cycling.
Cycling is all about maintaining a position that is perfect for the sport, and that means keeping a proper posture all the time. The main danger when cycling is slumping over the handlebars and not maintaining a good posture. That can cause a lot of problems, especially when you cycle for hours and hours on end.
If you bike does not allow you sit upright and reach the handlebars without leaning forward, it may be time to consider new handlebars, or even a different type of bike frame if you are experiencing chronic pain.
Improve Core Strength to Prevent and Address Lower Back Pain
Cycling can be a great way to get to that incredible core strength that you want. You can train your core while on your bike, which means you save time doing cardio and core work together instead of doing two separate exercises.
Cycling is known as one of the best workouts for the lower body and especially for the legs. But you can’t just give your legs all the workout without the rest of the body, or you’ll just end up with major muscle imbalances. You’ll have strong legs and a weak core, which just isn’t good for your overall health and your back.
Core strength, therefore, is very important for cyclists, especially long-distance riders. You need to strengthen your core so that your back won’t suffer from all the pressure.
To engage your core, maintain an upright posture, keep your abs tightened, and keep weight and pressure off your arms. You can even perform additional exercises while riding your electric bike that increase your core strength such as crunches or standing up at intervals.
Correct Your Posture
It is very important to correct your posture when cycling, but it is just as important to correct your posture as a leisure cyclist or as a training cyclist. Even if you are just a casual cyclist, you still have to make sure that you are practicing good posture to reduce back pain.
If you are a training cyclist, you will want to make sure you keep your posture to a higher standard because you will be riding much longer than the casual cyclist. Even the most casual riders should make sure they are practicing good posture when they are cycling. One of the best things to do is to practice a few stretches before you even get on the bike to warm up your back and prepare your body for the cycling activity.
So what does good posture look like? Your shoulders should be relaxed, your elbows bent, a neutral spine with your core engaged and your back relaxed, and your knees should be inline with the ball of your foot.
Assess Your Bike Fit
Fit is a major factor and can indicate the type of lower back pain you will eventually have. The bike should fit you perfectly. The bike should be the right size for you, and it should be adjusted properly.
The feet should be planted in the front, and the handlebars should be close together so that you can place your hands on them. It should be just the right distance from comfortable for you to lean over the handlebars.
Seat height is one of the most important parts of bike fit. See our past blog which provides instructions on how to properly adjust your seat height to minimize injury or pain while biking.
Cycling can be a great way to exercise, but it’s not always easy to avoid back pain. Make sure you have good posture and that your bike is adjusted properly. Assess your bike fit and learn correct stretching and warm-up exercises before you get on your bike. To ensure you are in the proper position to cycle, practice riding the bike in your garage or in your driveway. Do this before every ride so that you will get into the habit.
If you are riding an eBike, make sure you get it from an electric bike company that can help you find the best fit for you.