Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? For many of us, ditching the training wheels was a highlight of childhood. These days, bikes are all the rage – just take a look at the growth of spin classes. Cities are even making bike lanes, complete with bike sharing programs. It’s never been easier to ride a set of wheels. Yet, like all good things, cycling comes with potential downfalls. Have you ever thought about what it does “down there”?
It’s a more common issue for men who ride more than 3 hours a week. Several studies have found that up to 91% of male cyclists experience penile numbness, while up to 50% have reported erectile dysfunction. The nerves, after all, are under a lot of physical pressure. Cycling can cut off the oxygen supply and lead to blood flow problems.1 2
While there’s little to no research on female cyclists, the vagina also depends on nerves and blood supply. Prolonged pressure is not healthy for the perineum! So, do yourself a favor and protect your privates, starting with these 5 tips.3
1. Mind The Handlebars
Don’t just hop on any old bike. If the handlebars are lower than the saddle, the risk for perineum pressure is more. Eventually, this can lead to nerve damage and injury. Adjust the handlebars if possible. You could also shop around and choose a bike with higher handlebars. It’ll be worth the wait.4
2. Use Traditional Saddles
It’s no secret that the seat has a significant influence. When possible, choose a traditional saddle. A 2011 study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that it places less pressure on the perineal nerves and pelvic floor. Cut-out and narrower saddles have the opposite effect and you must avoid these seats at all costs.5
3. Adjust The Seat
Choosing the right type of saddle is just one part.
4. Lean Back
Riding a bike in an upright position is the best way to reduce pressure. Obviously, you can’t lean all the way back, but try to avoid bending over. This can be tempting when you’re in the zone but think about your lady parts. If you tend to lean forward, try alternating positions while riding.7
5. Take Breaks
When riding a bike for a long time, men are advised to take adequate pauses. This tip is applicable for women as well. Take breaks at regular intervals. This isn’t necessary during spin class or a quick ride to the store. But if you’re doing a long-distance bike ride, pausing will help.8
Don’t let the potential risks deter you from getting a set of wheels. Biking is an amazing way to exercise, regardless of your fitness level. Just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on a spin bike can burn 210 to 311 calories! Another 30 minutes of leisurely cycling can also burn 240 to 355 calories.9
Instead of avoiding the ride altogether, protect your privates with these 5 tips. With a safe approach, biking can be a healthy part of your fitness routine.
|↑1||Marceau, L., Kenneth Kleinman, I. Goldstein, and J. McKinlay. “Does bicycling contribute to the risk of erectile dysfunction? Results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS).” International journal of impotence research 13, no. 5 (2001): 298.|
|↑2||Baran, Caner, Gregory C.
|↑3||Schwarzer, Ulrich, Frank Sommer, Theodor Klotz, Claus Cremer, and Udo Engelmann. “Cycling and penile oxygen pressure: the type of saddle matters.” European urology 41, no. 2 (2002): 139-143.|
|↑4||Partin, Sarah N., Kathleen A. Connell, Steven Schrader, Julie LaCombe, Brian Lowe, Anne Sweeney, Susan Reutman et
|↑5||Guess, Marsha K., Sarah N. Partin, Steven Schrader, Brian Lowe, Julie LaCombe, Susan Reutman, Andrea Wang et al. “Women’s bike seats: A pressing matter for competitive female cyclists.” The journal of sexual medicine 8, no. 11 (2011): 3144-3153.|
|↑6||Bressel, Eadric, Dustin Nash, and Dennis Dolny. “Association between attributes of a cyclist and bicycle seat pressure.” The journal of sexual medicine 7, no. 10 (2010): 3424-3433.|
|↑7||Montorsi, F. “Erectile dysfunction in cyclists-Is there any difference in penile blood flow during cycling in an upright versus a reclining position? Editorial comment.” (2001): 723-723.|
|↑8||Sommer, F., D. König, C. Graf, U. Schwarzer, C. Bertram, T. Klotz, and U. Engelmann. “Impotence and genital numbness in cyclists.” International journal of sports medicine 22, no. 06 (2001): 410-413.|
|↑9||Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights.