Numbness while cycling signals that the perineum is under too much pressure. The perineum is located between your sit bones, which make contact with the bicycle saddle. The perineum is the junction of major arteries and nerves which allow your lower body half to function properly. Too much pressure on the perineum can cause a number of problems, such as numbness, sexual dysfunction and, in men, prostrate problems. You should be able to stop numbness while cycling with just a few simple changes in equipment.
Consider the saddle design. Look for a saddle shape that takes pressure away from the perineum and alleviates numbness. Try out saddles that are noseless or saddles made of two pads, one for each sit bone.
Examine saddle fillings. Saddles come filled with gel or air. Squeezing the saddle with your fingers will not be enough to determine comfort. Sit on a saddle in a store to see which filling provides the most comfort.
Consider the saddle covering. Saddles come covered in leather or covered in high-tech fabric that wicks away moisture. Look for the covering that's most comfortable to you.
Road test the saddle. Ask the store manager if there's a way to road test the saddle in the parking lot. Ride for a few minutes to determine comfort level.
Focus on the padding. Look for shapes designed to alleviate pressure on the perineum. Make sure the padding has fabric that wicks away moisture and also prevents bacteria growth.
Try on both men's and women's bike shorts. Ensure the right fit and most comfort. Men's shorts have wider waists and lower rises. Women's shorts have smaller waists and longer rises. Cross gender lines, especially if you're a woman with a wider waist.
Count the panels. Bike shorts are made of four to eight separate panels. Look for shorts that have more panels, which will provide more curvature and more flexibility on your bike.
Consider the fabric. Look for stretchy fabrics with special yarns woven into them to wick away moisture. The more comfortable you are in your bike shorts, the more comfortable you'll be on your saddle.
Check your bike fit. Look for 2 inches of clearance above the bar.
Check your saddle angle. Make sure the saddle is parallel to the ground. If it's uncomfortable, you can lean it forward slightly.
Adjust the saddle height. Make the saddle just high enough that your leg is still slightly bent when stretched to the bottom of a pedal cycle.
Items you will need
- ✓ New bicycle saddle
- ✓ New bicycle shorts
- See a doctor for numbness that doesn't go away after these changes in bicycle gear. The condition could signal a bigger problem.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.