The key to healthly exercise

The key to healthly exercise is just that.Let’s take another look at why we should exercise so we can hold a green fitness key.Today I find that humans are far too sedentary, all too
often sitting in front of a computer by day, followed by
sitting in front of a TV at night. This lack of physical
activity causes emotional and physiological imbalances,
but we can change this by looking at how we exercise; improving your
fitness changes your chemistry, acts as a powerful antidepressant, promotes
mental clarity, and reduces the likelihood of cancer.
If you’re not happy with either how you look or feel about your weight,
then with correct guidance, you can break out of inactivity and be rewarded
by smiling at yourself whenever you see your reflection. I will guide you towards 4 green keys to health and tonight is fitness.
You can learn more about how and when you should
exercise, as getting the correct mix can extend your life.
When I am working at my clinic, I hear echoing around the walls: I am too
old to exercise, too old to work. Are you too old to exercise? Well, no one told
Jiroemon Kimura (born 1897) that he was too old. He passed away recently
at age 116, farming until he was 90 years old. Remember the Carry On films?
Well, did you know that Barbara Windsor carries on exercising in her late 70s?
You can find her in her gym wear keeping fit outside in Hyde Park.
Over 450,000 people in the USA and over 70,000 people in the UK risk total
knee replacement every year. Want to talk pain? Then talk TKR. What’s
worse is that it is unsuccessful 10% of the time, and you can even die from
having total knee replacement. Furthermore, the age for TKR is constantly
dropping. Why? Anybody want to hazard a guess? That’s right: obesity.
Now, this isn’t proven yet, but it is most likely the biggest cause.

So, what happens when you get fat? Ladies, take the ‘C’ off chips and you
know what you get! Guys, you put it on around the waist and lose sight of
your favourite toy! What you probably don’t know is that your knees are
loaded with up to four times your weight, so every extra stone (14 lbs) is
an extra four stone (56 lbs) on your knees – that’s why knees are so often
the first casualty with OA. If you want to know why the four times multiple
occurs, it’s because of leverage. Now, you are intelligent people, and you are
surely interested in health or you wouldn’t be here. So, why have you made
the decision to get arthritis? Made the decision to get lots of pain? Made
the decision to risk surgery and even death? It’s because much of the pain
associated with the pleasure of eating too much is too far away, and anyway,
going to the gym is a pain for most. We need to change the way we think
about exercise, and hopefully this chapter will go some way to doing that
for you.
Here’s some more cheery news: an in-depth study into retirement found
that men in their sixties are every bit as good at driving business than those
physically and mentally in their prime. In later life, prescriptive exercise is
more effort than swallowing a pill, but it is well worth it; in a nutshell, you get
less senility and less pain. Exercise weaves its magic, strengthening the heart,
releasing more neurotransmitters for cell communication, boosting BDNF
for improving neural connections in the brain, aiding metabolism, improving
blood flow, stimulating toxic disposal systems, and strengthening bones.
This next fact gets me out running in howling gales and rain: current research
in Sweden shows that exercise alters the way genes work in the tissue that
stores fat, and changes in adipose tissue storage sites were measurable even
with just two workouts a week. Epigenetics has always fascinated me since
studying biology, and this is the study of how chemical alterations will
change how genes work in a cell. This allows us to fine tune our body to a
changing environment.
Exercise alters this process in muscle cells and improves how sugar is
processed. Furthermore, adipose tissue (fat cells) is an organ in its own right, producing active chemicals that have profound effects on the body. In
this tissue, 18,000 markers were found on 7,663 genes! This is leading to a
greater understanding of why exercise helps fatty tissue do its job properly,
which means that as we get older, we don’t have to have such a lumpy,
bumpy body. This smooth body needs a good structural support.

Unless you fall off, cycling is a sport that causes very little, if any impact injury and is relatively body-friendly. On the road, there’s no impact to jar your joints as you would find in running.  In mountain bike riding, although there is still no direct impact there is an element of vibrational force depending upon the type of terrain you ride. Like any endurance sport however, cycling can produce a catalogue of niggling aches and pains, which unless diagnosed and properly treated can often lead to something more serious.

If you are a regular cyclist, maybe training for you first charity ride or even a sportive, it is important that you know how to spot the signs of an injury and that you get the correct treatment and advice to correct any problems.

Avoiding Injury

When you start to increase the amount of riding you do you will be adding stresses and strains on your body. You might be tempted to ignore slight niggles and stick to you training programme at all costs.  BEWARE.  Riding through the pain is very likely to turn what may be a minor problem into a major one.

If you get injured, take it seriously. Take some time off the bike or adapt your training regime but do not ignore it. If the problem does not ease after rest, it is wise to be assessed by a physio or sports injury therapist.  Whatever you do, don’t ignore a potential injury when it’s still in the niggle stage.

Common Injuries

Other than the obvious flesh wounds and trauma caused by falling off there are the less impressive but no less painful sprains and strains caused by overtraining/overuse injuries often resulting from biomechanical stress caused by muscle imbalances or incorrect bike setup.


One of the most common injuries reported by cyclists is pain in/around the kneecap.  This is often likely to be an overuse injury. Patellofemoral pain syndrome or Chondromalacia patellae are two possible causes and are usually found because of tightness or weakness in associated muscles that causes unwanted movement of the kneecap (patella) as you pedal. If the patella rubs on the bones behind it, this can irritate and inflame the cartilage at the back of the cap causing pain.

Similar symptoms can be caused by your illiotibial (IT) band becoming tight and pulling the kneecap out of line causing it to rub against underlying bones. If you consider the repetitive nature of the pedalling action – up to 5,000 pedal revolutions an hour – it’s no surprise that a problem like this can quickly escalate into a clinical injury.

The stabilising muscles of your hip/pelvis play a big part in preventing your knees rolling inwards, and can be weakened by an over tight IT band.  This is one factor that may lead to a number of painful problems, including medial knee pain, anterior knee pain and even lower back pain, in cyclists and also runners.


A number of issues can give rise to hip pain one of the most common is Piriformis syndrome.  This is often caused by overtraining (particularly if there is a muscle imbalance) and by overworking the gluteus maximus muscles in your buttocks.  If overstressed and tight, the piriformis can put pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing pain or numbness down the  back of the leg or in the hip and is a common cause of sciatica.


Pain caused by neck hyperextension can be exacerbated by positional issues on the bike combined with lack of flexibility and core strength.  The deep muscle of the neck ( flexors/extensors) help to hold your head up, when they become weak it is left to the trapezius and other muscle groups to support your head as you lean forward. When these muscles get fatigued, you can get the aches and pains in the back and sides of your neck.

Lower Back

After knees, the back is probably one of the biggest causes of pain reported by cyclists.  Again lack of flexibility and a poor posture/set up are often the cause.  The neutral position for the spine in a standing position allows for the curves of the spine to take your bodyweight and for the muscles to be relaxed.   Sitting and reaching forward causes tension in some of the muscles of the spine and can stress the joints causing aches and pains particularly in the lower back and across the shoulders. In extreme cases long periods of being in a bent forward position can damage the intervertebral discs causing them to herniate.

Any exercise causes a small amount of inflammation in muscles, due to microscopic amounts of damage.  After a long ride it is normal to ache for a day or so as the muscle repairs.  This is often referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)


Numbness, tingling, or pain in your arm, hand, wrist, or little finger is all common symptoms especially following a long ride.  Approximately one-third of all bicycling overuse injuries involve the hands.  The two most common are handlebar palsy and carpal tunnel syndrome. By making some adjustments to your bike and by wearing some protective equipment, you can help prevent these injuries from occurring.

Handlebar palsy

Ulnar neuropathy (sometimes known as handlebar palsy) is caused by compression of the ulnar nerve at the hand and wrist.  The ulnar nerve controls sensation in your ring and little finger and some of the muscular function of your hand. Compression of the ulnar nerve is a common problem for cyclists and is the result of direct pressure on the ulnar nerve from the grip on the handlebars and sometimes overstretching of the nerve when using the drop-down handlebar position for an extended period.

The pressure placed on the ulnar nerve results in numbness and tingling in the ring and little fingers, hand weakness, or a combination of both. Symptoms can take from several days to months to resolve. Rest, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatory usually help relieve the symptoms. Applying less pressure or weight by adjusting your position will help prevent the condition

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Although it is less common than Ulnar neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome (compression of the median nerve) is another overuse injury that cyclists often experience.  This often occurs when a cyclist holds the handlebars on top and applies pressure directly on the median nerve. Symptoms include numbness and tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers and weakness of the hand.  Although pressure from this riding position contributes to the symptoms of carpal tunnel, there can be other causes for hand pain and numbness, therefore, an evaluation for other possible causes should be performed by your health-care professional.

If you think you may have any of these conditions, it would be worth getting in touch with the clinic to make an appointment to have it checked out. Call on 01889 881488 now.