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Scooter-riding under close supervision from a physiotherapist

With physiotherapist Edita Prošková, we looked at scooter riding - its health benefits and risks. What can it do for us, what should we be careful about when riding and what should we keep an eye on with children?

Scooter-riding is a perfect way to stretch after a day spent doing sedentary work.
Scooter-riding is a perfect way to stretch after a day spent doing sedentary work.

You ride a scooter yourself, would you recommend it to others?

“Riding a scooter has many benefits. As a physiotherapist, I appreciate the most that it builds stability, which is the foundation of any well-managed movement, not only in sports but also in all normal everyday activities. 

It is especially beneficial for people who have sedentary jobs. Riding a scooter is good for stretching the hip flexors, which are shortened by prolonged sitting.

If we fail to stretch the flexors sufficiently, it results in a forward tilt of the pelvis and subsequent bending in the lower back, leading to overall poor posture and health problems.

For this reason, I would also prefer a scooter to a bicycle, on which the rider sits with his or her head forward again, just as he or she did at work.

Most cyclists also rest the weight of their torso on their hands with their wrists in dorsal flexion, resulting in a carpal problem. 

This is not the case when riding a scooter, where the body is upright, the head is in the extension of the spine, the hand rests lightly on the handlebar, and the wrist is in line with the forearm and the chest remains nicely open.

When you ride a scooter out on a bike trail, where you can really lean into the movement - go into the maximum stretch and raise*, you engage, stretch and strengthen every muscle in your body.”

“It is different when we ride a scooter around town. There, on the contrary, you try to ride as economically as possible. But this movement counts as well.”

Scooter for adults
When riding a scooter the body is upright, the head is in extension of the spine, the hand rests lightly on the handlebar, the wrist is in line with the forearm and the chest remains nicely open.

What to be careful about when riding a scooter

“It is important to stabilize the pelvis so that it does not drop on one side or tip forward during the ride, but remains in a neutral position in relation to the torso.

When riding a scooter, stand upright, and keep your shoulders centered and your pelvis in a neutral position. Keep the foot parallel to the footplate and the knee pointing straight above the foot.

See the right riding technique here.

You can tell when your pelvis is dropping by pushing off from the inside edge of your foot. In this case, I recommend concentrating on the correct movement (see riding technique).

Also, ensure that the knee of the standing leg does not fall inwards when riding and remains in a neutral position in relation to the ankle.

If the lower limb rotates inwards, a poor-quality movement pattern is created, which is then transmitted to the whole body.

Also, do not twist your feet, but place them on the footboard parallel to its edge. 

Set the handlebar height so that it does not force you to extend your elbows, bend forward, close your chest or lean your weight on the handlebars.

Scooter for adults
It is important to stabilize the pelvis, so that it does not drop on one side while riding, or tilt forward, but remains in a neutral position in relation to the torso.

What shoes would you recommend for riding a scooter?

From my own experience, I can recommend sports shoes with soft or even higher soles with zero drop. I prefer to ride in Leguano Aktiv or Primus Trails barefoot shoes by Vivobarefoot.

It is important to choose a shoe that is spacious enough to allow the foot to rest on all the toes and flexible enough not to resist the foot when pushing off.

Also, reach for comfortable sportswear. Jeans will prevent you from going to maximum extension, which it would be a shame to deprive yourself of.

Is scooter riding suitable for children and under what conditions?

“Of course, riding a scooter is very beneficial for children. Especially in this post-covid period, where due to strict measures children have become unused to regular exercise, became lazy, and lost motivation to return to clubs and sports training.

Nowadays, we are happy with any physical activity the children decide to do. Fortunately, riding a scooter is fun, so they are easily tempted. 

Scooters for Kids
From the perspective of physiotherapy, a scooter is an ideal tool for training stability and coordination of movements.

In terms of physiotherapy, a scooter is an ideal tool for training stability and coordination of movements. It will also serve children with movement pathologies because it will strengthen their muscles.

Also, as I have already mentioned, by forcing them to go into hip extension, does an excellent job of stretching the muscles that shorten with sitting.

The principles of correct riding are the same as for adults. That is, pelvis in a neutral position, shoulders centered and knee right above the foot.”

At what age should one start riding a scooter?

“Rather than a question of age, it is a matter of the height of the child and his physique.

The smallest scooters offered at Yedoo are for children from 100 cm. My 4-year-old daughter is 104 cm tall, petite and can handle riding the Yedoo Mau scooter, which is light enough for her, quite well.”

What about children and alternating legs?

How to teach children to alternate legs

The best way to teach children how to switch legs is to put them on a scooter and hold the handlebar while they try to swap legs. The important thing is that they understand the principle, and then it is a matter of practice.

See also: How to teach children to ride a scooter.

“It is, of course, ideal if children can change legs during the ride, but anyhow they will not many any longer distance without changing legs and without a pause. Either they will switch to walking or stop and naturally compensate for the one-sided movement.

Therefore, children, who are new to scooter riding, will be happy with the ride-a-bit and walk-a-bit mode. Or with stopping and switching legs calmly.

In that way, they can cover longer distances, which will make life much easier especially for parents of pre-schoolers.

You can ride a scooter with them, after all, have fun and do something for your health.”

Scooters for Kids
Physiotherapist Edita Prošková and her daughter

Edita Prošková

*Podology is a field focusing on the issue of the feet, that is prevention and treatment of painful states and health complications in relation to the entire locomotive system.

**Podiatry is a medical field, which focuses not only on the feet, but also on complex study of the leg from the anatomy to physiology, diagnostics, treatment and consulting. To put it simply, podiatry deals with care for the feet from bones and joints to tendons and muscles, to skin and nails. A podiatrist can also make individually made insoles for shoes.

In the Czech Republic, it is not yet possible to study podology or podiatry at a university, as is the case abroad. For this reason, in the Czech Republic education in these fields takes place in the form of courses.

Physiotherapist, podologist and podiatrist. She graduated from ČVUT (Czech Technical University in Prague) with a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy and continued to study podiatry* and podology**. In her private practice in Roudnice nad Labem, she deals with acquired as well as congenital foot defects in adults and children. Using exercises and applying podiatric aids she helps rectify the disturbed function of the feet, which influences the state and (in children) also the growth of the entire locomotive system.

Edita is also a proponent of barefoot footwear and universal movement. She will, therefore, not only help you with flat feet, inward turning ankles and inward-pointing big toe etc., but also with selecting shoes and practicing correct walking. If needed, she will design and make tailored insoles for you, or she will show you how to do taping. You may contact her at www.facebook.com/Edita-Prošková-fyzioterapeut-podolog

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