I Want to Ride My Bicycle

June is the official Bike Month. So get out and ride your bike! Cycling is a great way to enjoy the sun and get exercise, and you can ride your bike to work, so you don’t have to set aside a ton of extra time to do it.


One of the main reasons cycling is great is because it targets some of the largest muscles in your body–quad muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, just to name a few. This cardio exercise also targets different muscles during each pedal stroke. Each portion of the pedal stroke engages a different muscle or set of muscles to complete.


With how much your legs are worked, it leaves you open to stiffness, soreness, and strains. Massage helps reduce the effects of all three by pushing lactic acid out of your muscles, allowing your tissues to function better. The position your body is in for extended periods of time for cycling can also cause neck and back pain. We’ve talked about neck pain and disc issues in your back before. Massage again reduces the effects of strained muscles in your neck and back from holding your body in that specific position. The American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine talks about how important it is to have your bicycle fit your body correctly to prevent neck, shoulder, back, and other pains that can easily be avoided.


Cycling, as with any sport, also comes with its own set of injuries. Some of the obvious ones are knee pain or foot and ankle numbness. However, one of the most common is head injury. This can vary from a small bruise on the cheek to a serious brain injury.  In that same article, the AOSSM talks about quite a few possible injuries and they talk about when to seek the help of a physician, which you should with any major injury. However serious or minor an ache, pain, or injury is, your Licensed Massage Therapist can help.


After a long bike ride, it’s important to get massaged. It helps to push that built up lactic acid out of your muscles and allows your tissues to be more hydrated and oxygenated. It allows those muscle fibers to recover quicker. It prevents tensions from building up, which can also prevent sprains, strains, and other injuries. CyclingTips.com even wrote an article about When to Get a Massage, and the first sentence is, “Massage is as integral to a professional cyclist’s daily routine as riding the bike is.” It goes on to say, “The massage is actually pushing out the muscle’s carbon dioxide rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen rich blood that goes back into the muscles.  The body will do this naturally but massage drastically speeds up the process.  In addition to this, massage prevents injury with the help of stretching.” (emphasis added)


If you’ve been in an accident on your bicycle, whether it’s falling off your bike because you just switched to clipless pedals and forgot your feet were attached to your bike, or you were hit by a car and had to get surgery to fix broken bones, massage reduces recovery time. After a serious injury, please consult your physician before you come see your Licensed Massage Therapist–we DO NOT replace your general practitioner, and it’s important to know that you don’t have any complications that would be worsened by massage. However, once you’ve received the clear from your doctor, receiving massage to help your body recover is necessary to ensure your body is functioning and performing without compensating for your injury. If you just fell off and hurt your wrist, again, come see us. We can make sure your wrist and the muscles in your forearm are functioning better to ensure you can break properly. A Personal Injury Lawyer office in Oregon posted a whole article about the benefits of massage after any accident. If it’s important after a car accident, it’s even more important after a cycling accident.

Just Keep Swimming

Swimming is an amazing way to get exercise and get fit. While swimming is amazing for the body, it takes a lot of strength and using muscles you don’t necessarily use every day, as well as relying upon your arm and shoulder strength. Click the picture to learn reasons to swim.

As you start to swim, your body has to reteach itself how to breath. You have the weight and pressure of the water against you, you have to hold your breath until you have the opportunity lift your head out of the water and take a usually chlorinated breath, as chlorine will hover about 6 inches above the water. Your breathing muscles get really sore and your diaphragm, muscles between your ribs, and some of your neck muscles can feel strained just from breathing differently.

Your shoulders are your powerhouse! You have your rotator cuff, consisting of 4 muscles to rotate the humerus, and your shoulder girdle, consisting of your lats, traps, rhomboids, pecs, and a few other muscles. These muscles need to be stretched appropriately and iced regularly, especially if you are training every day. Icing can also help when you are training 2-3 times a week.


Your legs kick and kick and are consistently using those fast twitch muscle fibers. Legs will become fatigued just as much as your shoulders can. Different injuries to the leg can also become problematic.


Swimming is a full body workout! You use your core for direction, legs for added propulsion, and shoulders and arms for power.


As with any sport, you become more prone to certain injuries. Swimming is no different. The most common injury for swimmers is a type of tendonitis called Swimmer’s Shoulder. It affects mainly the bicep tendon and one of the rotator cuff muscles, the supraspinatus, because of the repetitive nature of swimming. Depending on which stroke you use, you also open your body to other possible injuries. Breaststroke can stress the MCL, the medial collateral ligament, in the knee or you can develop petellofemoral syndrome, a painful stress on the tendons on the knee and going up the leg. You can stress your elbows or ankles.


Prevention is key! Massage is an amazing way to prevent these injuries. Massage also helps reduce the effects of any tendonitis. According to Pain Science, specifically deep friction massage is especially effective for tendonitis. It helps by breaking up the adhesions and fascia that’s too tight around the tendons. You can do friction massage yourself at home. However, doing this at home does not take the place of your massage therapist. Anytime you have a pain in your body, there’s an automatic compensation program that your body embraces. Your massage therapist will help you with the tendonitis as well as other muscles, preventing further development of tendonitis in other areas of the body. Massage will also help decrease likelihood of soreness in all muscles and can help prevent injury. Read more for sports massage and getting the most out of any exercise program through massage.