Helia Fitness woman cycling

A Better Ride

Whether you cycle on the road for fun and leisure or in a gym class for fitness, pay attention to proper bike fit for safety. Even small changes to seat set-up eased neck- and backaches in 70 percent of cyclists studied in a British Journal of Sports Medicine report. The tips below will help you get set for a better ride, indoors or outdoors.

Discomfort Neck- or backache
Potential problems The handlebars are too low, which strains the neck and back; or the seat’s too far forward, which overextends the torso.
The fix Raise the handlebars so you’re sitting more upright, or slide the seat backward.

Discomfort Pain in the front of the knee
Potential problems The seat’s too low or too close to the handlebars, possibly stressing knee joints.
The fix Raise the seat, or move it back.

Discomfort Pain in the back of the knee or leg
Potential problems The saddle is too high, which overstretches the back of the leg.
The fix Lower the seat

Discomfort It hurts in the arch of your foot.
Potential problems The shoes you wear for cycling may be too flexible.
The fix Swap soft-soled cycling shoes for stiffer ones.

Discomfort Sore wrists; numb or tingling hands
Potential problems You’re clenching the handlebars or keeping your hands static for too long; or the handlebars are too low, which forces your body weight onto your hands.
The fix Vary your hand position from front to side grips often; raise handlebars; wear cycling gloves.

Discomfort Feels uncomfortable in the crotch or buttocks
Potential problems Non-cycling attire that irritates the skin
The fix Use padded shorts or other workout wear designed for cycling.

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