5 Injury Prevention Tips for Indoor Cycling
Spinning, spin, indoor cycling. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon. Indoor cycling studios are popping up all over the city. All of the Hollywood stars are going to spin class, and there’s a good chance your colleagues and friends are too! As winter approaches, we tend to rethink our fitness routine. Getting outside for a walk, run or hike becomes less desirable when the days are shorter and the temperatures are cooler. And with no snow on the hills or trails, it’s not quite time to transition to skiing. So how about trying something new?
With proper form, indoor cycling can be a great cardiovascular workout with an added strength component. It’s high energy and low impact. The instructors are motivating and the music rhythm is contagious! If you’re thinking of signing up for a spin class, here are a few things to consider. You’ll get the most out of your workout and your body will thank you. You’ll be wanting to get to the next class for more!
There are a few things to take care of before your first class, so make sure you arrive early. You may have to register, sign in or go over a waiver. Next, you will want to find the change room and the water station to fill up your bottle. You will then get cycling shoes to borrow if you don’t have your own. Cycling shoes aren’t always the most comfortable but do make sure your toes aren’t squished at the top. That way you avoid numbness and tingling in your feet as the class goes on. Arriving early will also give you time to set up your bike. Classes are scheduled out to the minute, so your instructor will be ready to start right on time!
Set Up Your Bike Properly – Ask for Help
Proper cycling form and posture are essential for performance and prevention of injury. You can only have proper form, however, if your bike is set up properly. What does “properly” mean? It means to set up to fit your body. Your height plus your leg and arm length will be considered. Your seat has to be at hip level when standing next to the bike. If it’s too low, you will feel a lot of pressure in your low back and your quads will do all of the work while your glutes and hamstrings do very little. When your foot is at the bottom of the stroke, you should have a slight bend in your knee. Your handlebars should be about a forearm’s distance from the start of the seat. You shouldn’t feel like you’re stretching forward to reach the handlebars. Take a couple of minutes to ride on your bike and make any other adjustments before the class starts. If it doesn’t feel right, ask the instructor for help! Once you find your settings the next time you set up your bike will be easy.
Don’t Fear the Tension Dial
A common mistake for new spin clients is keeping the tension too low. You’re told to listen to your body and that it’s your workout. So for the first couple of classes, you decide to keep that tension light, to ease into it. However, not only are you limiting your workout and your energy expenditure, you’re making it harder on yourself to find the beat and catch the rhythm of the music. Turning up the resistance when appropriate will allow you to be in control of your movements and will prevent injury from spinning too fast or popping out of your pedals. Don’t be shy, turn that dial to the right!
Breathe and Hydrate
Don’t forget to breathe! Indoor cycling is tough. It challenges your cardiovascular system just as much as your legs. But you really can take it at your own pace (with enough tension of course). The spin studio will heat up as the class goes on, so prevent feeling light-headed by keeping your breathing going. Your body will quickly learn to spin at faster speeds while breathing. Hydration is just as important. Your bike will have a spot for your water bottle so it will always be within reach. Between songs, or anytime you need a little water, go for it. You are guaranteed to sweat during class, so keeping yourself hydrated will be key.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Like starting any new activity, your body needs time to adapt. Make sure you warm up well as the class starts, and before if you can. Arrive early get your feet clipped in and your legs moving. Remember to cool down and stretch afterward. We tend to finish a workout and start to make our next move to whatever else is on the to-do list. A few minutes spent stretching and breathing will make your workout recovery much better.
If something doesn’t quite feel right after your indoor cycling class, book an appointment with one of our chiropractors and registered massage therapists by calling the clinic at 613.237.9000. Let them know about your new activity. They can provide you with tips on bike set-up specific to your body as well as stretches and mobility exercises to keep you spinning comfortably.