By Amanda E. Vogel, MA
Indoor Cycling: Guidelines & Safety Suggestions
Editor’s note: This article is the second of a five-part series on guidelines and safety suggestions for various group fitness modalities. The genesis for these articles is you, the IDEA member. In our most recent readership survey, a whopping 100 percent of respondents said they wanted to see more space in IDEA publications devoted to injury prevention. In addition to the five injury prevention articles slated to appear in IDEA Fitness Edge this year, the entire June 2000 issue of IDEA Health & Fitness Source will be devoted to this topic.
ndoor cycling has “spun” a revolution in group exercise. Cycling’s reputation as a challenging, no-frills activity, enjoyed by beginners and elite athletes alike, has made it a welcome addition to group
exercise schedules around the globe. But indoor cycling is still evolving. For this activity as for any group workout, instructors need to design fun, highenergy classes without compromising safety. Unfortunately, some recent cycling trends may, in fact, be contributing to injuries among participants. Cycling experts agree that what’s “in” is not always what’s safe or effective. How do we fare when it comes to cycling safety and training expertise? At this early stage, we would do well to step back, assess our journey and recommit to ensuring safe cycling on the road ahead.
I D E A F I T N E S S E D G E / APRIL 2000
The Health & Fitness Source
Instructors who are aware of the types of injuries associated with cycling can help participants dodge some common aches and pains. Although the majority of studies on cycling injuries have focused on the outdoor sport, the findings may apply to indoor cycling as well. Due to the mechanically stressful and repetitive nature of cycling, overuse injuries are common (Holmes et al. 1994). Add to the equation improper bike fit, contraindicated moves, poor program design or a combination of these factors and the injury risk is even greater. Neck and back aches appear to be the most typical cycling injuries, with as many as 60 to 70 percent of riders complaining of pain in these areas (Mellion 1991; Salai et al. 1999). Shoulder pain, hand numbness and particularly knee injuries are also commonplace (Gregor & Wheeler 1994; Mellion 1991; Wilber et al. 1995). Making adjustments on the bike will often reduce the incidence and/or magnitude of pain or muscular tension while riding (Mellion 1991; Salai et al. 1999).
Getting the Right Fit
Stationary bikes are among the most complex and sophisticated pieces of equipment used in the group exercise setting. Instructors and participants need to be more involved with adjusting and handling their equipment before a cycling session than they would be before a conventional group fitness class. In fact, knowledge about proper bike setup is essential for injury prevention. Aileen Sheron of Santa Ana, California, a master trainer with Star Trac
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