Al had posted a newsletter link the other day and tagged me in it. So, I pulled it up this morning and started reading it – specifically the article addressing gluteal atrophy by John Izzo.
I found this one interesting because of what they had to say about ankle sprains. Funny – I used to have ankle sprains for years starting as a teenager and on and on for years until the last few years as a cyclist. So, I tried to figure out why that might have been – looking at it from a different point of view. I used to think it was simply because of genetic or general familial weaknesses. (Because it “appeared” to run in my family.) Then…it hit me. You see, I grew up on a dairy farm, and ALL of us worked hard on it. However what did we all wear during those years? Work boots. Because of the environment, it was necessary. However, I realized those boots never allowed the natural strength in the ankles to develop and took away whatever strengths and balances we once had. Furthermore, I, personally, pandered to the weakness by purchasing high top sneakers. (Now oddly enough, I never had a problem in high heels but would sprain my ankles regularly when wearing “low tops”. Go figure. Stretching out my foot/ankles via high heels must have engaged (or dis-engaged) something that prevented my ankles from having a sprain. Strange, but I digress.)
Now to make matters worse, I’ve also had problems in the arch of my foot. Yep, the entire family – self included – has flat feet. Not flat, flat but flat enough to cause my ankles to lean inward. (In fact, my eldest son has this, and it’s too soon to tell with my younger son. So, this does, indeed, run in the family.) I used to wear insoles that I got from a podiatrist in my shoes to prevent my feet from hurting so badly.
Lastly, I did fit (and sometimes still do fit) the article’s description of a desk person. For many years in my late twenties and thirties, I spent a large portion of my time at a desk of some sort. Even now some days, I still do. Other days, I’m not at it, at all, thankfully because that seated position also exacerbated problems with my traps and upper lats…going on up my neck and giving me migraines, too. (To say that the seated position gives me issues from top to bottom isn’t an understatement!)
So no wonder, I had problems all over my back, with my legs, my ankles and elsewhere. So much of this had to do with gluteal problems as result of both genetic and environmental issues. However then, I started cycling. Things changed.
I no longer need to use the insoles and haven’t had them in any shoe for over 2.5 years. Furthermore, I wear low top sneakers, flat footed sandals or some other “low top” shoe exclusively these days. The high top sneakers went the way of the trash heap. I haven’t had a single ankle problem for almost as long as I’ve been cycling.
Next, my low back problems have greatly reduced. There’s one more thing I haven’t shared and that is this. I, also, have a mild scoliosis in my low back. It used to be that I required a chiropractic adjustment a minimum of every 3 weeks or else I’d be in a great deal of pain. Since cycling, my back problems have greatly improved. As long as I’m riding, my back is happy. However if you take me off the bike for too long, I’ll need to either get active in some way (or several ways) or head back to the chiropractor for help – or both.
Cycling has done so much more me. However, that’s not to say that I don’t need more work. I certainly do!! However after collecting these realizations and looking at them together as a group this morning, I am even more grateful that the sport of cycling is in my life. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the same without it!