Cycling can very easily put a strain on some parts of the body, and one of the most stressed out parts while cycling is our neck. Discrepancies and unevenness in the road, like potholes, unkempt asphalt or hard braking, can impact our neck health greater than we can imagine. As cyclists, it is important for us to take care of our bodies as a whole.
Staying active is crucial for neck health, as working the muscles helps the neck strong and flexible, and cycling can definitely benefit strengthening neck muscles! Integrating stretching into our routine can prevent our muscles from
getting tight and alleviate pain.
Even just a few minutes a day can make a huge impact in helping realign cervical discs, heal the pain and ensure flexibility. The following are three easy stretches you can incorporate anywhere in your daily routine, at your desk, before starting the day or after a ride!
Keep your head straight, grab you head with your right hand and gently bend over the right shoulder. Keep you gaze forward and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the left side. Don’t apply pressure or force to the movement.
Now onto the back neck muscles. Cross your fingers and bring your hands above the nape area. Flex and gently push your head forward until you feel a slight tension. You should feel a tension but no pain so be careful! A small movement is enough so don't over do it! It's also important to keep your spine aligned while doing this.
Finally, neck rolls! Do them slowly as it could hinder the cartilage and nerves if done too fast! Hold your head and spine straight, shoulders relaxed. Bring your ear to your right shoulder, rotate your head forward until your left ear is on your left shoulder and then go back straight to center. Now roll backwards by bringing the right ear to your right shoulder, drop your head back and slowly circle to your right shoulder. Back to center and repeat slowly a few times. Then reverse the sequence.
This sequence takes up no more than 5 minutes in your routine but it'll make a huge impact! Neck pain, however common, can be debilitating in our daily lives, especially for athletes, and when it's this easy to manage, why not take these steps?