Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Bike to Work Day

Today is Bike to Work Day! Biking is great for your health, the environment, and the community.

However an element of awareness is needed to maintain a happy back while riding. Except for very upright styles of bicycles, most bikes tend to put the you in the same rounded back, bent neck, reaching forward, folded at the waist position as our office chairs and cars, except worse. The upper back is over stretched, the neck is seriously over loaded, and the whole front of the body is kept contracted.

I was not surprised to find many online articles on the problems caused by poor bicycle posture. They seem to have good advice on the correct way to sit, but have the same limitation as many articles on office ergonomics. That limitation is describing only about the "right" way to sit without telling you no position is healthful if held for long periods.

Here is a funny Victorian era article from the medical journal _London_Lancet_ about bad bicycle posture. "...the evil consequences of this unwholesome posture in wheeling..."

My advice is simple- sit up occasionally in the saddle, stretch backward a bit, and grasp your hands behind you. The stretch is the first one described on my self care webpage. Ten or twenty seconds sitting up a couple times an hour will not cause you to lose the Tour de France. Besides that, work on unrounding your back so you ride with a neutral, not forward bent, spine.

Happy riding, and see you on the road!

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