According to a study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine, back pain is the most common overuse injury among cyclist, with 58 percent of cyclists polled experiencing such symptoms in the previous year and 41 percent seeking medical attention for it.
Indeed, cycling is one of the best low-impact cardiovascular workouts you can get, but after a few hours riding, even the most experienced athletes can feel discomfort in their upper or lower back. But according to Alyssa Dinowitz, founder of Athletes for Yoga in Tempe, Arizona, yoga can provide some relief, by aligning the spine and facilitating more upper body flexibility.
Activaided Orthotics’ RecoveryAid rehabilitative posture shirt and brace can provide similar relief from cycling lower back pain, especially after exercise. But to stretch and provide relief to the back muscles most often overworked while riding your bike, try some of these yoga poses:
Start with your knees and hands on the ground, in a “table top” position, ensuring that your wrists are directly under your shoulders and your knees are directly under your hips. Keep your head and neck relaxed. Then, take a deep breath, tighten your abdominal muscles, and on the exhale, point your back towards the ceiling, forming a “hump” (Cat). At this point, you should be looking at your hips.
On your next inhale, raise your head and relax your core, allowing your spine to dip downward. Here, the top of your head and backside should be angled towards the ceiling (Cow). Repeat this process about ten times.
While seated, extend your arms straight out in front of you, at shoulder level. Now, cross your left arm over your right, so that it forms a narrow “V.” Rotate your forearms until they’re perpendicular to the floor, then twist your palms inward so that they touch. Inhale, slightly elevating your arms, then exhale while lowering them. Repeat this process five times before switching arms.
Lie stomach-down on the floor, with your head turned to the side in a relaxed position. With your hands flat on the floor (adjacent to your ribs) and your elbows bent, use your lower back to lift your core off the ground while inhaling. (Be careful not to lift with your hands or wrists!) At this point, your hips should still be touching the floor. As you exhale, lower your torso back to the floor, allowing your head to naturally turn on its side. Repeat this ten times in rhythm with your breaths, rising when you breathe in and exhaling as you breathe out.
Yoga can be one of the most helpful sore back remedies, whether you’re experiencing lower back pain from running, cycling, or any other activity. But if you’re experiencing chronic back pain, especially after exercise, consider asking your doctor or chiropractor about ActivAided, our rehabilitative posture brace and shirt.