May is National Biking Month, so here to offer tips for aspiring cyclists is Dr. Frank Cordasco, orthopedic surgeon.
“Bicycling can be a wonderful method to improve one’s overall health and fitness,” says Dr. Cordasco. It can provide an excellent cardiovascular workout without subjecting the lower extremity joints to excessive loads. You can burn several hundred calories per hour depending upon the level of intensity of the workout.
Dr. Cordasco has these tips for the beginner cyclist:
- Always wear a helmet; several studies have demonstrated that this is a critical factor in avoiding injuries or death in the event of an accident.
- If you are going to approach bicycling seriously, you should make sure that the bicycle fits you appropriately with respect to frame size, seat height, handlebar height etc. Having a bike that fits your frame will prevent overuse injuries to the lower extremities (particularly the knees), lower back and neck.
- Don’t ride with your hands on the lower portion of the curved part of the handlebars (the racing or drop position) for long periods of time as you may develop a neck strain or cramps in the shoulders or arms.
- Don’t pedal in a high gear for long periods of time as this can place more pressure on the knees and may lead to an overuse injury. A reasonable pace would be 60-80 revolutions per minute (rpm) for a beginning cyclist. This provides reasonable exercise without placing added stress on the knees.
- After a long uphill ride, be sure to pedal on the downhill instead of coasting. This helps to clear the lactic acid that was building up in your muscles during the uphill component of the ride.
- Have fun!
Dr. Frank Cordasco is an Orthopedic Surgeon in the Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service at Hospital for Special Surgery. The primary focus of Dr. Cordasco’s practice includes ACL and meniscus injury in the pediatric, adolescent, and adult athlete; shoulder instability; bicep tendon tears, rotator cuff and pectoralis tendon repairs, clavicle fracture surgery and AC joint separations. Dr. Cordasco’s research and education activities parallel and complement these clinical areas of expertise.