There's no doubt about it; cycling is now one of the most popular sports on the planet, especially with the over-fifties. It's a great activity to get involved in with many benefits including fresh air, exercise, social interaction, weight loss and saving money by swopping four wheels for two.
As a non-impact sport, cycling can also be very beneficial for your back if you suffer from chronic back pain caused by conditions such as sciatica. Read on to find out how cycling regularly could help your back pain and general health too.
Cycling and your skeletal system
Your skeleton is held together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. It provides a supporting framework for the body. Exercise places strain on the skeletal system which serves to strengthen it, increasing mobility.
Cycling has a positive influence on strength and bone density, and the robust muscular system you develop through cycling gives support and protection to your skeletal system.
Your posture when you cycle, together with the movement of your legs, stimulates the muscles of your lower back including the small muscles of the vertebrae which are difficult to reach through other forms of exercise. Together with the strengthening of your muscles, cycling can help reduce back pain and other associated problems.
Cycling is great for cartilages. The circular movement helps transport energy and other metabolic products to feed the cartilage tissue without the forces exerted by body weight. This effectively reduces the risk of arthrosis.
The human body has several hundred muscles. These muscles need regular use to keep them healthy and toned. Cycling uses virtually all the body's muscles; the legs pedal, the stomach and back stabilise the body on the bike, and the shoulder-arm muscular system provides support on the handlebars.
Cycling a few times a week helps to tighten up and train the muscular system, keeping it strong and in shape.
Weight control and cholesterol
Even gentle cycling burns energy, and this combined with a healthy diet helps reduce excess weight. As most of your body's weight is carried by the bike, even those who cannot move easily to exercise can increase their physical fitness and stimulate their metabolism to burn off fat reserves. As fat disappears and bodyweight decreases, cholesterol is reduced too.
Regular cycling can be extremely beneficial for older people who suffer from chronic back pain. Your muscles will become more toned, your skeletal system will be stronger and better-supported, and you could also lose weight, all of which will help to take the strain off your back. Ask your medical professional for more information about how regular cycling in conjunction with regular treatment at your chiropractic clinic could help to relieve your chronic back pain.