What cycling does to your body

The body can benefit from cycling at any speed and on any terrain.

review of research published in Medicine in August 2019 revealed that indoor cycling was linked to improvements in blood pressure, body composition, and aerobic capability. A second study published in September 2021 by JAMA Internal Medicine found that cycling helps people with diabetes to live longer. This is because it lowers cardiovascular disease risk.

Likely, your joints will also love it. Cycling is low-impact and won’t stress your joints like a high-impact sport such as running. In 2018, a peer-reviewed study examined older people with knee osteoarthritis. It found that cycling improved this condition’s symptoms and increased their overall quality of life.

Even so, cyclists know that their activity can have some unpleasant effects. Some of the common problems can affect recreational cyclists who spend between 30 and 60 minutes on the saddle. Others are more likely to occur for riders who ride long distances or for many hours. Here are some common inconveniences you may experience and what you can do to avoid them.


Intertrigo, or chafing, is a condition that occurs when moisture and friction combine. This can happen when the skin rubs repeatedly against clothing or when it rubs against another person’s skin. Mayo Clinic states this is also known as chafing. It occurs most often in moist places, such as the groin area, between skin folds, or under the arms while riding a bicycle.

According to Paul Warloski, a USA Cycling-certified cycling coach and NSSA-certified personal trainer from Milwaukee, underwear worn under cycling shorts or cycling bibs is the leading cause of chafing.

He says that wearing underwear defeats its purpose. The foam inside the shorts does not only serve as padding. It is also designed to keep your booty, private, and private bits secure and happy.

What you can do If you are wearing clothing designed to be worn with or without underwear, it’s best to skip the underwear.

Saddle Sores

If the chafing persists, you may notice small bumps between your legs or on your butt. They are called saddle sores because they occur where your seat comes into contact. Beginners and experienced riders can both get saddle sores. When I wear new cycling shorts or bibs that are slightly different in fit, there will be hot spots on my inner and upper thighs.

He says that even if they are minor, it’s essential to treat them since they can worsen with more riding, according to the data-component-name=” href=”https://www.sportsmedtoday.com/saddle-soressva-30.htm”>American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM). He says that even if the boils are minor, they should be treated, as they could worsen if you continue to ride. Warloski says that even small saddle sores can be very uncomfortable. However, they can also become infected when they burst.

“Down there” – Numbness

A numbness of the genital region can also be an alarming side effect, especially if you ride for a long time. Body mechanics causes this.

Women are at a higher risk of microtrauma to the genital area. In a study published in June 2021, sexual medicine, a study found that cycling increases the risk of microtrauma to the genital region for women due to perineal (pressure on the pelvis and the areas around the opening to the vagina). Researchers noted that this could affect sexual function as well as numbness. Men are not immune either — Previous research suggests that cycling-related numbness may be associated with erectile function.

How to deal with it Similar to saddle sores or chafing on the bike, this issue can also be minimized and prevented by wearing padded cycling shorts/bibs, changing positions frequently, occasionally standing up, and taking regular breaks.

Runner’s itch

This can occur with any sport but is more common if you make an unfamiliar motion.

As you warm up, blood flow increases throughout the body, most notably in the legs. This is according to Lily Adelzadeh, MD, a dermatologist at Berman Skin Institute, California. Nerves can be triggered as the capillaries grow and blood is directed to your muscles. She says that although you may think it’s an itch, the real cause is a reaction to your nerves.

As you continue to ride, increased sweat can cause pores to open. This can be especially problematic if you use cleaning products with a strong scent, as this is a common cause of contact dermatitis.

Dr. Adelzadeh says How to deal with the longer you ride, and the more often it will happen, the less it should occur. You will optimize blood flow and nerve control by conditioning your cardiovascular system by riding regularly. This will make it less of a problem. She also recommends switching to unscented, mild laundry detergent, just in case.

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