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Cycling Side Effects to Be Aware Of

Long-distance cycling is an intense, adrenaline-pumping activity. As the rider, you pedal your legs for hundreds of miles, sweating profusely, along busy highways and over paved trails. Its common knowledge cycling is a great way to lose weight and stay in shape, but it has its disadvantages. There are some cycling side effects to be aware of to better protect your health and safety in the future.

Minor Bruises, Cuts, and Scrapes

Naturally, every rider will experience minor scrapes and bruises at some point. Chafing body parts, road rash, or even a light accident all result in minor issues. It’s a good idea to carry a first-aid kit in your saddlebag to mitigate these as much as possible. Proper treatment at an efficient time will stop bacteria from growing and reduce the risk of infection. Clean drinking water, antibiotic ointment, and non-adhesive gauze should be readily available. Another item to keep in mind is a portable tube of sunscreen. This will protect against sunburns during a long ride.

Low Blood Sugar and Dehydration

Additionally, always bring light, energy-boosting snacks and water to sustain you during your ride. Long, intense cycling rides use a lot of energy. It’s essential you carry calorically-dense foods that will provide energy-boosting properties. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, or granola bars, will provide this. Otherwise, you risk dizziness, weakness, and fainting. It is equally important to bring plenty of water and stay as hydrated as possible. Dehydration can decrease energy, straining your body, muscles, and heart.

Chronic Pain and Discomfort

You should always monitor more serious pain and discomfort. Annoying pains can ruin your ride quality and even damage your groin and crotch. One of the most common factors leading to discomfort is the size of the bike frame relative to body height. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce discomfort and to improve ride quality. Typically, this is as easy as replacing the bike seat to more high-quality material, such as leather. See a medical professional if pain persists.

Fractures and Serious Injuries

Falls and accidents can and do happen. Bones can break, and serious injuries can occur. Certain bones are more prone to serious injury in the event of an accident, such as shoulders, arms, collar bones, femurs, or pelvis. This can lead to permanent injuries or concussions. Unfortunately, some accidents can be fatal.

Written by Kevin O'Neill

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