In one of our recent newsletters we talked at length about the importance of upper body strength, upper body flexibility and safe travel tips. It is amazing how all three of these topics apply to riding a bicycle. When riding a bike, whether it is for pleasure or for competition, most people focus on leg strength. But upper body strength and knowing how to stretch the upper body is critical to a healthy cycling experience.

When cycling for 30 minutes or several hours, the muscles in the upper body, especially the trunk, neck and shoulders, are used to keep the body upright. With time these muscles do fatigue as they work to stabilize the upper body. In fact, it is not uncommon for a cyclist to end up with neck pain if they do not keep the upper body flexible, which is why knowing how to safely and correctly stretch is important.

Safe travel tips related to cycling is the most important item for consideration. Whether riding your bike around the neighborhood or on a bike trail, the first safety tip is to always wear a helmet. Purchase the helmet at a bike shop where the helmet can be fitted by a professional. Also, make sure all of your family members who join you on the ride have them as well.

Other safety tips related to cycling include making sure your bike is equipped with a mirror placed on the left hand side of the handle bars, a bell to alert others and a holder for a water bottle and the water bottle itself! These are the most critical items but there are many more optional items that can be added-just check out all potential items when you visit the bike shop to purchase your helmet. And finally, if you are riding on a road, always ride single file and with the flow of traffic. Hopping on your bike is a great source of physical activity. It is even more fun if you can include the entire family. But remember, be safe and keep your upper body stretched and strong!