Healthy Back Campaign V
- Saddle, handlebars and pedals form the ergonomic triangle and help with a back-healthy setting.
- The Healthy Back Campaign (AGR) e. V. certifies bicycle components and adjustment tools with an ergonomic seal of approval.
- A bike or pedelec is healthy for the back if the components are optimally tailored to the driver.
Biking is a full body workout. Pedaling regularly is healthy – for your back too. Ergonomics, however, plays a decisive role. Those who cycle in a back-friendly manner complain less about pain, pedal more efficiently and sit more securely in the saddle. That’s why a so-called “bike fitting” is not only worthwhile for professionals, but for everyone.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s the airways, joints, muscles or blood circulation – cycling in the fresh air makes you fit and in a good mood at the same time. According to Fahrrad-Monitor Deutschland, 77 percent of Germans own a classic bike or e-bike, the latter is usually a pedelec and provides electrical support while the rider pedals. 38 percent use their bike regularly, i.e. daily or several times a week, to get to work or to the supermarket – or as sports equipment. “Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise,” explains Detlef Detjen, Managing Director of Aktion Gesunder Rücken (AGR) e. V. “It is particularly easy on the joints, for example, because the greatest weight is on the saddle.” Anyone who cannot ride a bike for health reasons or is looking for an alternative should consider a stepper bike (bareback). It combines the advantages of cycling and running. Because you adopt an upright posture, it is particularly easy on your back and joints.
Feel good on the bike
In addition to the fun factor, the environmental aspect of traveling more by bike also plays a role for many. If that is too strenuous for you or if you don’t feel fit enough for it, you can improve your eco-balance with a pedelec and do something for your health at the same time. Cycling is good for the climate and your own fitness – and with the electric version, headwinds and climbs can be easily overcome. “Pedelecs get more people on their bikes and thus in motion and in the fresh air. That is of course absolutely welcome,” says Thorsten Braukmann, Key Account and Technical Support in the product area of bicycle parts at ergotec. “Ergonomics is even more important in the case of pedelecs than with classic bicycles. People tend to be less fit, but can cover longer distances with them and even sit in the saddle more often because it’s just not that strenuous.” In addition, the pedelec driver needs less strength and sometimes puts his body weight too statically on the saddle. To ensure that cycling is easy on the back, the contact points – i.e. saddle, handlebars and pedals – should be ergonomically adapted to the cyclist, otherwise complaints such as neck and knee pain or numbness in hands or feet can result. “Everyone has an individual threshold for accepting pain and, especially as a beginner, a physical phase of getting used to and adapting to sport is part of it,” explains Simon Schumacher, from the development department of the Koblenz-based ergonomics specialist Ergon. “But pain when cycling shouldn’t be and can be avoided with the right frame size, the right ergonomic accessories and the right bike adjustment.”
The ergonomic triangle
The interaction of the components determines what makes a back-friendly two-wheeler. That’s why the be-all and end-all when making a purchase: individual advice. The first thing to consider is the type of bike, i.e. whether it should be a trekking bike, gravel bike or Dutch bike. The frequency, the distance covered and the physical conditions also play a role. “You’re in good hands with a dealer who can select a suitable type of wheel from the diverse range and optimize the ergonomics by correctly setting the components or replacing them if necessary,” says EGR expert Detjen. Bike fitting is the magic word – based on the ergonomic triangle. It includes the pressure distribution on the contact points saddle, handlebars, pedals. This creates the optimal connection between man and machine, because only when both harmonize is cycling comfortable and healthy – also for the back. With a good bike, six different parameters can be set individually: seat height, saddle position and angle, handlebar height and angle, and seat length. This works optimally with the Ergotec scanner system, which has been awarded the AGR seal of approval for ergonomics, because every type of bike can be simulated and individually adapted to the driver. The handlebar and grip position can be adjusted or the saddle adjusted in seconds. “We can use it to work out the ergonomically best seating position together with the customer – directly and steplessly while he is sitting on the bike,” explains Braukmann. “It is immediately clear and tangible for the customer what constitutes a changed position.” He feels that just a few centimeters in the setting reduces the strain on the wrists – and how little it sometimes takes to create more comfort.
A good saddle changed
An important connection point between cyclist and bike is the saddle. “Typical problems are buttock and back pain. They arise because cycling causes shocks to the spine,” says AGR expert Detjen. “It is also important that it supports dynamic sitting, i.e. it is not rigid during pedaling movements, but goes with it.” If a saddle does not fit perfectly, the driving pleasure suffers after a short time. Manufacturers take these challenges into account with their products. For example, Ergotec has designed a new saddle that has a relief level and a “Flex T-Zone” – right there where the buttocks and perineal area rest. “We also offer two different widths and degrees of firmness to enable both professional athletes and occasional cyclists to find a comfortable seating position,” says Ergotec expert Braukmann. The bike fitting specialist Schumacher sees it very similarly: “The shape and choice of materials for our ergonomic saddles and grips is designed in such a way that they generate a pressure distribution that the body can absorb without pain. We want to achieve the best ratio of freedom of movement and seating area.” Furthermore, the saddle should be tailored to the gender. “Where relief is required, there is a difference between men and women in the perineal and genital areas,” explains Detjen. “A saddle must be designed accordingly.”
Make more distance with ergonomics
For Schumacher, ergonomics also lead to more safety on the bike: “The topic of bike fitting is also playing an increasingly important role in popular sports. With the right, pain-free adjustment and the right interface products, bike control improves significantly,” says Schumacher. “The muscles don’t tire as quickly, which means you stay alert over a longer period of time.” Cycling ergonomically and therefore with a healthy back not only means more comfort, but also a plus in efficiency. When your foot is properly on the pedal and your knees are correctly adjusted, you can cover more distance with the same amount of force. Braukmann uses an example from cycle racing: “Studies have shown that the riders can cycle three kilometers further per hour if the biomechanics are right. Of course, this knowledge is just as useful for the rider of a trekking bike.” Therefore, ergonomics and efficiency always go hand in hand.
Bike fitting: This is how bike and cyclist become one
Which bike type suits me? How can I adjust my bike correctly? What can I do if my fingers get numb? The online portal “RichtigRadfahren.de powered by Ergotec” answers these and many more questions. The Healthy Back Campaign (AGR) e. V. for the first time awarded a website that gives cyclists quick and easy instructions on what is important when it comes to ergonomic adjustment. In the online portal, both beginners and professional bikers will find a comprehensive range of information on the subject of ergonomics on the bike as well as many explanatory and exercise videos. If you are struggling with pain while driving, a problem analysis tool will help you to create a symptom profile in just a few clicks. The user then receives valuable tips and possible solutions to reduce the symptoms. Also awarded the AGR seal of approval: the Ergon fitting box. This is also suitable for laypeople without any prior knowledge and supports cyclists with the correct setting – a prerequisite for comfortable driving. The focus is on the contact points saddle, handlebars and pedals. These are individually adjusted to the cyclist in terms of distance, height and angle, depending on the type of bike and riding style. The fitting box contains a manual, a plumb bob, a spirit level, four measuring templates, a quick start guide, a measuring tape and marking stickers. So you have all the tools and specifications at hand to adjust your bike for an ergonomic seating position in order to eliminate or prevent discomfort.
More information at www.agr-ev.de/fahrrad
About the Campaign for Healthy Backs e. V
The Healthy Back Campaign (AGR) e. V. was founded in 1995 and is an independent association based in Bremervörde (Lower Saxony). The most important goal is to promote back health. In addition, AGR awards the AGR seal of quality to particularly back-friendly products. The Healthy Back campaign also trains specialist dealers and therapists on the subject of ergonomics and back health and works closely with independent experts. The association bundles information from the medical environment that is helpful in the development of back-friendly products and thus promotes the direct transfer of knowledge between medicine and manufacturers. The association prepares current data and scientific findings for the consumer and supports research into the prevention of back pain. The AGR sees itself as an interface for information about the causes of pain and how to avoid it, as well as treatment options. Additional Information: www.agr-ev.de
The AGR seal of approval
The healthy back campaign V. developed the AGR seal of approval “Tested & recommended” as a decision-making aid for consumers. The association only awards products that are classified as “back-friendly”. For this assessment, an independent testing committee – consisting of doctors and therapists from various disciplines – comes together and subjects a wide variety of products to strict test criteria. If the commission, as part of its multidisciplinary investigation, comes to the conclusion that the products have a back-friendly design, they are awarded the AGR seal of approval. It thus serves as an optimal guide for consumers when purchasing ergonomic everyday aids, such as office furniture, car seats or school satchels. The independence of the testing committee ensures that only products that make a positive contribution to consumers’ back health are awarded the prize. This approach convinced the “Label-online” portal of the federal association “Die Verbraucherinitiative e. V.”, which rated the seal of quality as “particularly recommendable”.
In January 2022, the AGR seal of quality, including the test process, was also awarded as an EU certification mark – an aspect that underlines the quality standards of the Healthy Back Campaign and shows that consumers can trust the seal of quality.
Additional Information: www.agr-ev.de/guetesiegel
Healthy Back Campaign V
Tel. +49 4761 – 926358315
E-Mail: [email protected]
Original content from: Aktion Gesunder Rücken e. V., transmitted by news aktuell