What is impact cycling on your body? If you spend as much time in the saddle as the pros, you are certainly aware of the things you should avoid. However, this is not the case for everyone. Let’s see what a physiotherapist says about this.
Mountain bike on road
Both of them have their own risk if we only think about the terrain in mountain biking, or the most dangerous threat to road cyclists: traffic.
Mountain biking, whether it is an enduro, terrain or a free ride version, at first glance seems much more dangerous, especially because of the technically challenging terrain. We are more likely to suffer from various bruising, bruising, concussion or bruising injuries.
Road to cycling
Mountain biking is the road to cycling, where – up and down straight – “just” on the road, may seem safer. Apart from the collision with cars, there is also the risk of the rollover on the asphalt, which can lead to more severe skin and muscle contractions, as if we were dropping on a dirt road or in the forest.
Right posture for cycling
Now, however, let’s look at the other approach. What are the effects of sports on a person’s bone and musculoskeletal system? In order to be able to sit on your bike in the right posture, it is important that it is the right size and that each part is adapted to the personal needs of the cyclist. Possible birth defects, previous injuries or back pain should be taken into account.
Due to differences in postures, the use of muscle groups varies. Road cycling is mainly used for leg muscles, especially for thigh muscles and calves; monotone wraps overstretch the muscles in this area.
The biggest problem with road cycling is that cyclists are leaning forward for a proper aerodynamic effect. That’s why we often sit low. In this posture, we stretch our shoulders; grasp our backbone and chest, narrowing the intervertebral space. The abdominal organs are pressed into the thoracic cavity, the diaphragm is pushed upwards, which prevents breathing and changes our breathing technique.
When sitting on a road bike, the upper body muscles primarily perform stabilization functions adapted to the movement of the foot. In a low aerodynamic posture, we have to drive our heads back on the road bike if we want to see it properly. The cyclic movement changes the structure of the cervical spine in the long run.
In the adult vertebrae, the very forward-seated sitting posture is inside the cartilage discs. Moves the gel-like central part backward. A typical consequence of this is the disc herniation: the slipped disc compresses the nerve roots, causing pain. Road cycling bends our body. The muscles adjacent to the spine have to exert great force and place a lot of pressure on the L5 / S1 area.
Road cycling is mainly about kilometers, so everything depends on our feet, and the entire upper body is “locked”, the movement coming from the hip joint. The cyclic movement in the arrow (sagittal) plane tightens the closing muscles, but if we sit in the saddle, it is more comfortable for the hip joint, as it relieves the weight of the body. This is probably due to the fact that functional decentralization has no serious effect on our structure.
Mountain bike advantages
The big advantage of the mountain bike is the more vertical sitting position. The arms are an integral part of the posture, and the upper body muscles get more stressed. As we sit more vertically, the cervical vertebra does not stretch so much. In this case, however, our spine is in danger because of the vibration, which effects through our arms up to the cervical spine. Although mountain bikers are not inclined to advance, often ride on rough terrain, the vertebrae swallow many punches, which in extreme cases can cause discolorations. Mountain cycling also puts pressure on the L5 / S1 area, but it is less powerful. The use of upper and lower body muscles in mountain biking is roughly even.
So – be it an enthusiastic road bike or a dedicated mountain bike – note that like any other sport, cycling has its consequences.
Road cycling vs. mountain biking
In my opinion, road cycling is more demanding than a mountain. Mountain bikers can change their position more often and are more diverse in terms of weight distribution, the position of larger joints and muscle movement. Taking into account all the effects on the skeleton and musculoskeletal system, it is better for our body compared to the aerodynamic seat posture and the monotonous movement of road cycling.
Therefore, it is important that the negative effects of cycling be mitigated by adequate stretching of overstretched muscle groups or compensatory exercises, which will be examined next time.