Here’s how to make sure you fin­ish the OCBC Cy­cle in the most in­jury-free condition pos­si­ble.

Men's Health (Singapore) - - FIELD GUIDE -

Cy­cling reg­u­larly is a great form of ex­er­cise to keep the weight off. It im­proves blood pressure and di­a­betes con­trol, and enhances car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

But be­fore you hop on a bike, here are some things to note, shares Dr Di­nesh Sirisena, a con­sul­tant in sports medicine at Khoo Teck Puat Hospi­tal.

Ad­just The Seat To Avoid Pain

When seated, place your foot in the pedal at the low­est point of the pedal stroke and en­sure that your knees are bent at a 25-de­gree an­gle.

If the bi­cy­cle sad­dle or seat is po­si­tioned too low, you may end up ex­ces­sively bend­ing your knees. You can de­velop tight­ness in ar­eas such as the quadri­ceps or end up with pain in the front of your knees.

If the seat is too high, you may have to straighten your legs to pedal the bike. This could lead to an over­ar­ch­ing of the lower back or pain in the calves. It is sim­ply an in­ef­fi­cient cy­cling form.

Over time, you could de­velop chronic lower back pain, even though it may not be caused by any dam­age to the joints or nerves.

Watch Out For Bruises And Sores

If the seat is too small, it can re­sult in bruis­ing, pressure ar­eas and sores on the but­tocks, the per­ineum and, for men, on the scro­tum too.

When a cor­rectly fit­ted seat is com­bined with ap­pro­pri­ate at­tire (that is, well-fit­ted cy­cling shorts), a rider can travel com­fort­ably for sev­eral hours.

As with the seat size, cor­rect po­si­tion­ing of the seat is es­sen­tial. If it is tilted back­wards, the front edge of the seat can put pressure on the per­ineum and in­jure this area.

Sim­i­larly, if the seat is tilted ex­ces­sively for­ward, it can push the pelvis into a for­ward tilt, which will place pressure on your lower back, knees and fore­arms.

Be Aware Of PreEx­ist­ing Con­di­tions

The bikes that are for hire tend to be heav­ier than the ones you may own as the for­mer have to be ro­bust to with­stand rough han­dling. Thus, more ef­fort is needed to ride these bikes.

If the hired bikes have no gears, it would re­quire even more ef­fort to get go­ing on them. This will work the heart harder.

If a rider has a pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal condition such as car­diac dis­ease or a sport­sre­lated prob­lem, the ex­er­tion might pre­cip­i­tate an acute episode of their symp­toms.

Stop If You Ex­pe­ri­ence Joint Pain

Some bikes have air­less or solid tyres, which don’t run the risk of be­com­ing flat. They are more re­sis­tant to dam­age and can last longer than con­ven­tional tyres.

How­ever, as air­less tyres tend to be heav­ier and firmer than con­ven­tional tyres, the ride may not be as smooth. Also, some riders who have less ex­pe­ri­ence may find bikes with air­less tyres harder to han­dle. Be­gin­ners should use these bi­cy­cles for shorter routes and grad­u­ally build up the dis­tance.

If you start to de­velop symp­toms such as joint pain, switch to a bi­cy­cle with con­ven­tional tyres.

Wear Proper At­tire To Limit In­jury

Wear cloth­ing that enhances vis­i­bil­ity, and pro­tec­tive equip­ment such as hel­mets and gloves.

Light­weight, breath­able ma­te­ri­als help main­tain body tem­per­a­ture, while padded cy­cling shorts can re­duce pressure on sensitive ar­eas.

In case of a fall, proper at­tire will help to limit any in­jury suf­fered.

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