Cycling With Back Pain – How to Do It Right

When you are suffering from back pain but still want to maintain an active lifestyle, cycling is one of the best options you have. Not only does cycling offer many benefits to your health, it also saves money and time.

Biking can be a favorite pastime, a regular form of exercise, or even a way to commute to work or other places. Your primary concern will be to protect your back from further injury.

So how do you cycle properly if you have back pain? Here are some great tips.

Get a Specialized Bike

Your bike choice might depend on the type of back pain you have and its severity. It could also depend on what you want to achieve – whether you’ll be cycling on rough terrain for many hours a week, or if you prefer a stationary bike at home. Talking to a specialized bikes dealer in San Francisco may help you find what works best for your needs.

For instance, those with lower back pain could benefit from a recumbent bike, while those with mid or upper back pain can still use a regular bike. A patient with lumbar spinal stenosis will feel more comfortable using the forward-leaning position on a bicycle.

If you already have a regular upright bike but experience back pain, invest in a good cycle chair to make cycling more comfortable. You can also get a bicycle with full suspension, which will reduce the jarring on your spine while peddling.

Adjust the Bike to Your Body Type

An incorrect posture when cycling can adversely affect your back muscles. The height of the seat and handlebars must be in line with your leg length to avoid further straining your back.

If possible, adjust your bike according to your body height. Additionally, your knees need to be slightly bent when cycling. Be careful not to overbend them, or you will be putting added pressure on your joints.

Getting a professional fitting session with an expert will help you adjust the seat and handlebars according to your body type or height.

Get a Comfortable and Supportive Bike Seat

A saddle that sits too high can cause your hips to rock, which places undue stress on the spine. However, a seat that’s too low can cause you to bend forward, putting more pressure on your lower back. Investing in a comfortable saddle cushion takes the pressure off your back muscles, making it more comfortable to ride for long hours.


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    Warm-Up Before Getting on the Bike

    Stretching and warming up before riding a bike is one of the most critical steps in preventing back injury. You’re less prone to experiencing pressure on your spine and injuries if you stretch before each cycling session. However, not all warm-up exercises or stretches are ideal when nursing back pain. You may want to talk to a professional first before implementing a new routine.

    The Benefits of Cycling When Dealing With Back Pain

    Riding a bike is a low-impact activity and excellent for those suffering from back pain. With a proper posture and bike size, you can stay active while protecting your back from further injury. If outdoor cycling doesn’t appeal to you, a stationary bike workout at home is an ideal alternative. Other benefits of bicycling are:

    It’s Less Jarring to the Spine

    Many exercise routines such as jogging, weight lifting, and running stress the back muscles and spine – leading to more pain and injury. However, cycling is a low-impact activity that doesn’t jar the back muscles or jolt the spine.

    When cycling outdoors, keep in mind that road conditions can affect how much your back is affected. Smooth roads with fewer bumps are much better than rougher paths, for example. Also, start with shorter routes with appropriate recovery periods. You can increase your speed and intensity as your back pain improves.

    Cycling Increases Cardiovascular Endurance

    Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that works your heart and lungs. It’s also a low-impact workout that doesn’t stress the joints as much as other physical activities do. The benefits of increased cardiovascular activity are improved blood flow, lowered chances of heart disease, and regulating cholesterol levels.

    Burns Fat and Leads to Weight Loss

    One of the best ways to lose weight is by maintaining a steady exercise regimen. Cycling helps burn excess calories, promoting healthy weight loss.

    Cycling Improves Posture, Coordination, and Balance

    As you age or after long periods of inactivity, you lose muscle tone and flexibility. However, regular cycling sessions will improve your posture, muscle coordination, and balance, keeping you agile and flexible. Increased balance means fewer falls and fractures as you age. Regular cycling also keeps the joints limber and flexible.

    Other than this, cycling constantly alters your posture, helping strengthen the back muscles. You’ll have a better posture when walking, sitting, and standing up.

    It’s a Fun Way to Get Fit

    Cycling across neighborhoods or country roads is a fun way to spend the weekend. You can meet up with friends and family along the way or enjoy the different sceneries on your own. It’s something to look forward to, especially for those who spend long hours indoors throughout the week. If you’re cycling indoors, it’s less time-consuming compared to visiting a gym, as well as less costly.

    Don’t Let Back Pain Lead to a Sedentary Life

    You don’t have to let back pain slow you down. Considering that more than 16 million adults are affected by back pain in the U.S. every day, cycling is an excellent activity to safely get into shape. However, if you have severe or frequent back pain, talk to a professional before starting any cycling routine.


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    Cycling With Back Pain - How to Do It Right — Bike Hacks