Some recent heel niggles while out running have reminded me of how much easier it is when I can just hop on my bike and knock off a few kms that way instead. Similar thoughts were going through my head when this post was first published back in Oct 2013; seven years later and I certainly haven’t got any younger but the ongoing benefits of regular biking apply even more…
I’ve had a few significant aches and pains lately (mostly self inflicted – don’t play football against your son’s team…) and have been feeling less mobile than normal. This was then exacerbated when I moved into my new house last week (more cycling thoughts about that in later posts). Exacerbated because this new house is on a hill and it’s ~50 steps up to the front door (and a few more to the upper levels).
Now that might be fine for normal day-to-day activity, but of course on moving day there’s a lot more carrying of heavy objects into the new abode. Even with four burly movers helping to shift the big stuff, I must have lugged at least 50 boxes, bags, and other stuff into our new place. And with a slightly dodgy knee already from the aforementioned football, it was no surprise that my legs had pretty much given up on me by the end of the day.
This made the next few days excruciating just to do basic things like wander around the house (esp. upstairs/downstairs), let alone walk all the way out to the street. Not helping the situation was the fact that our hot water wasn’t working initially, so I couldn’t even soak in a bath or shower. I did go for a swim at Pioneer Pool and that was wonderful while it lasted; unfortunately then I had to get back out and let gravity do its thing again.
So it was actually quite nice to make my first ride back to work on my bike. Like swimming, cycling is very low impact and great for getting some exercise when something like jogging would be too much. The bike takes most of your body weight, allowing your legs to just concentrate on movement. Sure, you can even overdo it on a bike (hint #1: make sure your seat is high enough), but generally it’s more likely to help rather than hinder your recovery. And of course there’s all the usual benefits of regular cycling on your general health also to be had.
About ten years ago I snapped my achilles tendon, and so basically had to learn how to walk again and bear weight on that foot. Initially I was hopping about on crutches, which is fine for getting from one end of the house to the other but pretty hard work to walk longer distances around town or campus. Again, it was great once I was comfortable enough to hop on my bike and use it as a “wheelchair” to move longer distances.
Have you found cycling to help when you’ve been injured?