The line between exercising to stay healthy and exercising that causes health issues can be a lot thinner that it might seem from the first sight. This is especially true when it comes to all sports practiced as common ways to stay active, and thus without any supervision of professionals. Cycling, as innocent as it might seem, can easily fall into this category. While there is no denying that hopping on a bike on a sunny Sunday afternoon will boost your mood and your blood circulation for the entire work week that lies ahead, it is crucial to understand how dangerous cycling can be if one does not take it seriously enough. Here is what to look out for and how to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of health-harming exercise routines.
This is a controversial one. While many claim that due to repetitive movements and good weight distribution cycling is one of the top ways to make sure your bones are healthy, sturdy and of appropriate length, others are convinced that because cycling is a non-weight bearing activity, meaning your spine and pelvis receive no compression forces, it can actually harm your bone density. There is research to support both sides of the camp, and you can look at it this way: if you cycle professionally or you’re a hardcore cycling enthusiast who commits to it every day, there might be some truth to the latter point. But since you are invested into cycling so much, you probably know about this anyways and have taken precautions. If you, however, view cycling as a fun hobby and as one of the ways to stay active and don’t spend hours on a bike every day, don’t dwell on this point too much.
This is a tricky one. If you live in a big city, chances are you have no other options but street sidewalks if you want to take your workouts outside. While other types of exercises, such as jogging, can be done inside almost as effectively as outside, it is not the same with cycling, partially because the distance travelled adds a lot to the satisfaction of it. However, the levels of air pollution not just in metropolitan cities but pretty much anywhere with any kind of traffic are as high as ever these days. Thus, your anticipated dose of fresh air can actually turn into a dangerous practice; breathing heavily polluted air while exercising causes the body to absorb a lot more toxic particles, which can be directly related to decreased attention span, lower brainwork capacity, poor energy levels and other issues. Bottom line – if you live in London or New York, think carefully whether cycling outside is the best option for you.
Posture and joints
This is a detrimental one. Not only is it so essential to know and understand because bad posture and increased pressure on joints can turn cycling into a torture rather than a fun activity, but also because it can cause irreversible damage to your health. If you do any kind of cycling at any kind of frequency and intensity, you must consult a specialist before you turn this into a long-lasting hobby. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to understand the specificities of bikes and how your body needs to look like and feel like on a bike. Otherwise, you will find yourself rounding your shoulders forward, putting pressure on your knees unevenly and harming yourself substantially in the long run.