Wednesday, February 19, 2020 by Zoey Sky
Cycling improves your heart health and makes your legs stronger. The activity can even help you be more mindful. But too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad for you, and cycling for a long time may eventually cause back pain.
What’s a cyclist to do? The answer lies in a relaxing practice: yoga.
Cycling involves repetitive movement, which, when combined with the need to maintain a single posture for long periods of time, can often cause back pain. If you have back pain after a grueling cycling session, you don’t have to quit your gym routine.
To relieve back pain, try relaxing yoga poses and practice them regularly.
Yoga is effective because it offers both short- and long-term benefits for back pain relief.
Doing yoga improves your focus and makes you more mindful. It also boosts your flexibility, mobility and strength in all planes of motion.
Yoga poses emphasize breathing techniques that stretch and strengthen the muscles. This reduces muscular tension and improves your balance and bone strength.
Additionally, the slow movements and focus on proper breathing essential for yoga help improve the emotional aspect of back pain as it lowers stress and relieves anxiety and depression.
Practicing a diverse range of skills through yoga addresses the biomechanical issues often linked to repetitive activities like cycling.
Most cyclists feel pain in two primary areas: The lower back and between the shoulder blades. Cycling may also cause pain in the neck, hands, hips, shoulders and knees. (Related: Exercise is the best natural remedy for back pain.)
Cycling causes pain because you need to maintain a single posture for a long time as you repeat a limited range of movement patterns. The human body is an efficiency machine and it adapts to let you perform frequent positions and movements with minimum effort. However, doing this can cause muscular imbalances that pull you out of alignment, resulting in back pain.
Cyclists tend to repeat and maintain the movements below:
It’s important to stretch or alternate your activities to balance the movement patterns above. This prevents back pain and discomfort while cycling.
Below are some yoga poses that will relieve pain for cyclists. You can either practice them as a sequence or individually.
Do this pose in the morning or before you start cycling to activate your posterior chain.
The cat-cow pose is a pre-ride mobility sequence that loosens up your spine. Do it slow and monitor your body for any particular areas of tightness, particularly in the mid-back (thoracic spine).
The bridge is a pre-ride pose that prepares your glutes before you start cycling.
This pose is best for unwinding in the evening after a long cycling session in the morning.
If cycling causes back pain, relieve any discomfort with these yoga poses.