Is Cycling Good for Arthritic Knees? Tips for Cycling
For those with arthritis, riding a bike is a great form of exercise. Listed below are some reasons to cycle safely as well as how to do so.
Your joints won’t feel worse from exercise, I assure you. And you can still ride a bike if you have arthritis.
Cycling is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise, according to Lauren Shroyer, MS, senior director of product development at the American Council on Exercise. In fact, you should. Your heart, lungs, and muscles can all benefit from cycling, which also strengthens them. Read more: Does Cycling Strengthen Knees? Riding Guide
And studies show cycling may help reduce arthritis symptoms: A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found both cycling exercise training and swimming significantly reduced joint pain, stiffness, and physical limitations, and enhanced quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis (Another small study found that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients who exercised on stationary bikes regularly saw improvements in their cardiovascular health and blood pressure as well as fewer painful joints.
Another benefit for arthritis sufferers is that regular aerobic exercise can improve mood and sleep.
Is Cycling the Best Answer for Knee Osteoarthritis?
Either you already have knee osteoarthritis, or you occasionally get knee pain and are concerned about how to exercise safely. You’ll find some solutions in this health article.
Exercise is essential for improving your endurance and immune system. The exercise that has the least impact on the knee joint and is therefore most suitable for people with knee osteoarthritis or pain is that one. Cycling and swimming are considered to be the best exercises for people with knee problems because they have less impact on the knee joint, which reduces the risk of a knee injury.
Therefore, cycling is a fantastic exercise for people with osteoarthritis of the knee. In some cases of spondylosis with nerve root compression, cycling is also a good form of exercise for patients with this condition (and we will definitely discuss this in later articles). By gently bending and stretching the knee joint while cycling, the joint is made to move more easily. Cycling increases knee-protecting muscle strength by strengthening the muscles that surround the knee joint. Cycling thus supports knee joint health in many different ways. Cycling is also a cardio exercise. Cardio exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality, strengthen the heart, and be a very effective stress reliever.
There are numerous worries regarding whether cycling could aggravate knee osteoarthritis. The answer can be both “yes” and “no”. In most cases, cycling has very little effect on the knee joint. The joint also makes a gentle, circular motion. Intense cycling, such as competitive cycling, which requires standing and rapid cycling, is required for the development of osteoarthritis. This kind of cycling puts a lot of pressure on the cartilage and knee joints. The knee will suffer serious injuries if the knee joint and knee muscles are not strong enough.
The pressure placed on the knee cap while cycling should be reduced. By properly customizing the bicycle, you can achieve this. A little height adjustment is needed for the seat. The seat is in a good place when you push the pedal all the way down; your knees are only bending by 10 to 15 degrees. The seat can be shifted to either the front or the back as desired. When paddling the pedal from the very front, the knee joint should be in a vertical position and should be in direct alignment with the thumb joint of the foot.
Why Cycling is Good for Your Joints
First, less strain on the joints. “Cycling is a low-impact exercise,” says This means that cycling lessens impact stress on your feet, knees, and other weight-bearing joints. Additionally, the motion lubricates the joints, easing pain and stiffness. Other benefits of bicycling include:
Weight control: Additional weight can put pressure on your joints, especially your knees, and aggravate inflammatory arthritis.
Adjustable intensity: There are numerous intensities at which one can bicycle. If you move a little more slowly than usual, you can occasionally coast or use the lower gears to reduce the strain on your legs. Low-intensity cycling is just as effective as high-intensity cycling in treating pain, enhancing aerobic fitness, and enhancing function and gait in people with knee osteoarthritis, according to research.
Muscle strengthening: According to Shroyer, when the bike’s pedal resistance is moderate, it not only encourages hip and knee range of motion but also strengthens your quadricep muscles (located on the front of your thighs). Your hamstrings and glutes (on the back of your thigh) are slightly more worked out when you pedal. Strong muscles aid in supporting and defending your joints.
Which is Better for Arthritis: Indoor Or Outdoor Cycling?
Both have great advantages, according to Shroyer, barring concerns about balance. “Indoor cycling offers adjustable resistance options and a climate-controlled atmosphere,” say says. People who struggle to walk well can get aerobic exercise on indoor bikes, which are safer if you have balance issues. “Outdoor cycling, on the other hand, offers the change in scenery and naturally variable resistance,” adds Shroyer.
How to Choose An Indoor Bike With Arthritis
Upright stationary bicycles are similar to traditional outdoor bikes. They are mounted on a stationary platform and have handles, pedals, and a small bicycle seat. On an upright bike, you exercise the same muscles that you would if you were riding outside, which is a more comprehensive workout. The lower handles on some stationary bicycles may necessitate a forward lean by the rider. “This may be uncomfortable for people with neck, back, or upper extremity arthritis,” says You can sit more upright on a stationary bike by using one with higher handles, says Shroyer.
Recumbent stationary bikes have a larger, chair-like seats. Since you sit back into the frame and recline more comfortably on these bikes, they are less stressful on your lower back and hips. According to Shroyer, because they are lower to the ground, recumbent bikes are frequently simpler to get on and off of, but they may also require much more hip mobility than upright bikes.
The best way to determine which bike at your gym feels the most comfortable for you is to spend some time on each one, advises Shroyer. To position, the seat correctly seeks assistance from a personal trainer.
How to Choose An Outdoor Bike With Arthritis
Fit your bike first. To ensure the proper fit, bring your bike to a nearby store. A specialist may also recommend modifications to take your condition into account. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic advises having your seat elevated if you have knee pain.
A hybrid-style bike with high handlebars might be a better option if you suffer from the upper body, neck, or back pain, according to Shroyer. The ability to sit more upright might help with the pain. A recumbent bike outside is an additional choice. Your hip and knee range of motion will be maximized while riding a bike thanks to a professional bike fitting.
Tips before You Start Cycling With Arthritis
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor first if exercise is new to you. Work within the limitations of your joints as they are right now. If cycling is safe for you, your doctor or a physical therapist can advise you on how to include it in an exercise regimen that will benefit you the most without making your joint pain worse. More tips to help protect your joints:
Move gently. To warm up, start by gently moving your joints. Before engaging in aerobic exercise, you could start with range-of-motion exercises for five to ten minutes.
Get the right gear. Always wear a bike helmet when riding outside, along with eye protection (like basic sunglasses) and brightly colored clothing. As additional protection against vibration or injury in the event of a fall, think about wearing bike gloves. Before leaving, make a route map. It helps to keep you away from traffic by using designated bike trails.
Start with a brief ride. Five or ten minutes at low resistance to start. Start out slowly, then gradually increase the distance and difficulty of your ride as you advance. Work up to 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity per week (that is, 30 minutes, five times per week). If it’s easier on your joints, divide that time into 10-minute segments. You should be able to converse while exercising, even though your breathing rate will increase, to know if you are in the moderate-intensity exercise zone.
If something hurts, stop. According to Shroyer, pay attention to the pain. If your joints begin to hurt, stop and stretch or shift gears to make it easier to climb hills, for instance. “Sharp changes in intensity can add stress to the patellofemoral joint [where your kneecap meets your thigh bone] and increase inflammation in the knee,” says Shroyer. “Be not afraid to walk your bike up a hill you underestimated.” Stop doing it as soon as you experience any new joint pain. Discuss with your doctor what types of pain are normal and when they indicate more serious conditions.
Stretch every day. You should continue being active even if your RA or OA pain flares up. Simple stretches could help to lessen some of the discomforts.
Conclusion: Cycling is Good for Arthritic Knees
Cycling can be incorporated into a person’s daily routine, even if they have bad knees, to make life easier and stay in shape. This exercise offers protection from serious conditions like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, and depression. This article aims to clarify the advantages of biking for arthritic knees.
If done correctly, cycling might be good for your knees. Before beginning any exercise program, whether it involves bicycling or another type of exercise, you should consult your doctor. I’m wishing you success.
What is the Best Exercise for Arthritic Knees?
Examples of low-impact aerobic exercises that are easier on your joints include walking, bicycling, swimming, and using an elliptical machine. Work your way up to 150 minutes per week of moderately intense aerobic activity. If it would be easier on your joints, you could divide that time into 10-minute segments.
Which is Better for Knees Biking Or Walking?
“Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity, so it is better for your knees and joints,” Dr. Tanaka said, “and it does not cause much muscle soreness.” Walking also causes few injuries, unless you’re as clumsy as I am, which is almost comical.
Can Cycling Damage Knees?
Although cycling is considered a knee-sparing exercise because it does not require impact with the ground, the repetitive motion of pedalling can lead to a variety of overuse knee injuries.