Hit The Road!

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Whether you ride a bicycle for exercise, to commute to work or school, or just to have some outdoor fun, the benefits can be great. Cycling is a low impact sport that helps strengthen muscles and bones, control weight, improve cardiovascular health and even boost your mood and mental health. But along with the many benefits of cycling comes an increased risk for injury.

Dr. Uri Adler, an Internist and Physiatrist (physical rehabilitation) is affiliated with the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.  During his fourteen years in practice Dr. Adler has seen varying degrees of bike-related injuries, many of which could easily have been avoided.  This week he issued an important warning directed to all cyclists.   In his statement, Dr. Adler explained,

“Overuse injuries to the back, neck, knees and hands are the most common, as well as minor scrapes and bruises. Some riders often experience fractures, and chest, back and abdominal injuries.  Helmets can reduce the likelihood of a brain injury by more than 85%, which is why wearing a helmet is mandated for children and strongly recommended for all adults. Wearing the proper protective gear, making sure the bicycle is right for the rider and following the rules of the road are all critical factors in helping to avoid injury.”

In conjunction with Dr. Adler’s remarks, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation offers the following guidelines for both adults and children:

  1. Choose the type of bike – city, touring, racing, mountain, etc. – one that best suits your needs.  Make sure the bike is the proper size and fit for the rider.

 

  1. Always check to see that the tires are sufficiently inflated and that the brakes and handlebars are in good working order before riding.

 

  1. Do some warm-up exercises and stretching to help get muscles and joints ready to ride.

 

  1. Wear a helmet! Make sure it is properly fitted and meets industry guidelines.

 

  1. Be visible. Wearing reflective or bright-colored clothing will help drivers and others see you. In addition, wear appropriate footgear. Never ride barefoot or in flip-flops.

 

  1. Follow the rules of the road. Cyclists are required to follow the same laws as cars, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.

 

  1. Ride with the flow of traffic. Signal before making turns and look all around when changing lanes or turning.

 

  1. Be aware of potential road hazards, such as pot holes and debris, and anticipate what other cyclists, cars and pedestrians may do that could cause you to swerve or have an accident.

 

  1. Never talk, text or take photos while riding.

 

  1. If you experience any pain in your chest, arms and legs, shortness of breath or profuse sweating, stop riding immediately and seek emergency medical attention.

“Like any form of exercise or recreational activity, cyclists need to be physically fit, mentally alert, and most of all, smart about how they ride,” said Dr. Adler. “Observing both the rules of the sport and those of the road can make cycling safer and more enjoyable.”

A word about Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation:

Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation is nationally recognized for the treatment and research of both spinal cord and brain injuries. U. S. News & World Report ranked Kessler as the top rehabilitation hospital in the greater New York/New Jersey region, and #2 in the nation, by U.S. News & World Report.  Kessler has three hospital campuses in West Orange, Saddle Brook and Chester, New Jersey, and more than 85 outpatient centers throughout the state. For more information, visit www.kessler-rehab.com

 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

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