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Get checked before biking, say experts

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 6, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  As more Cebuanos bike to work following the limitations on public transportation and the "no backriding policy" in areas under community quarantine due to COVID-19, experts are reminding the public to look into their health conditions first before biking.

Dr. Jose Vicente “JV” Araneta, a cyclist and a columnist at The FREEMAN, and Dr. Roel Dejano, who specializes in rehabilitation medicine and is an expert in sports medicine and conditioning, both advised cyclists to have themselves checked beforehand.

Workers and residents in Cebu have turned to biking as an alternative mode of transportation as public transport was halted during community quarantine.

“Nowadays, most people are resorting to using the bike as a mode of transportation. This entails long rides and sometimes in adverse conditions, like the heat of the sun or in the pouring rain,” said Dejano.

As such, he said it is important that one “should know their capability and capacities.”

Dejano warned those who are not used to cycling, especially those who have underlying chronic conditions, including heart and pulmonary diseases, to take extra precautionary measures.

These people, he said, are more at risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Others who have degenerative joint problems may also experience back and joint pains, Dejano added.

He said though these are “rare occurrences.”

“However, just to be sure, when the rider is in doubt, he can seek consultation from a medical professional,” he said.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how long one should cycle for a start, but there are signs that one should take note that something is wrong, he said.

“At any time, somebody has shortness of breath, chest pain, chest tightness or dizziness then it's a sign that something is amiss. Also, if he feels pain on his joints and his back after a bout of bike ride then again these are red flags,” he said.

He advised the newbies to start with an achievable distance or even do a dry run.

He also advised them to have their bikes checked ahead, to wear helmet and other protective gear, bring extra clothes and to observe traffic rules.

“Biking is a good form of aerobic exercise,” Dejano said.

A free check-up and a bike clinic are currently offered by the Cebu Bike Boot Camp led by Mark Anthony Racal. Clinic schedules and contacts are posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Racal is also considering holding a bike clinic for beginners if many would be interested, as their own way of helping fellow Cebuanos in line with the “new normal.”  KQD (FREEMAN)

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