Exercise may not be your favorite activity when you have osteoarthritis (OA) in your hips or knees. The pain and stiffness in your joints can make it difficult for you to ride your bike.
My one-word answer to the question "is bike riding good for arthritic knees" would be, "yes".
Nevertheless, movement is important for hips and knees with OA. Your joints will compress and release, allowing blood to flow, nutrients to enter, and oxygen to enter. In a study published in the Journal of Rheumatology, cycling exercise training significantly reduced joint pain, stiffness, physical impairments, and improved quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis (OA).
In this article, I'll show you some of the best bicycles for your bad knees and how to make the most of them.
Is Bike Riding Good for Arthritic Knees?
According to Dr. Garry, cycling is one of the best activities for people with knee osteoarthritis since it helps strengthen their glutes and quadriceps. Furthermore, it's usually one of the easiest exercises to stick with for most people.
When you cycle, the compression force on your knees is considerably less than when you walk, says rheumatologist Dr. Brian Andonian, MD. “People tend to find it more comfortable when they cycle.”
Dr. Garry explains that most people with knee osteoarthritis can cycle without any problems. There is only one exception: people with osteoarthritis of the kneecap - that is, thighbone-joint osteoarthritis, which affects the area between the kneecap (patella) and the thighbone (femur).
As a result of osteoarthritis in the knee, cycling - which requires the knee to bend frequently - can be painful for patients, reports Dr. Garry. It's usually best to walk so that their knees have the least amount of flexion," he says.
Even people with osteoarthritis of the kneecap may still be able to cycle successfully if they position their seat as high as possible. According to Dr. Garry, their foot will push the pedal around in a circle, rather than their knee. It is less necessary to bend one's knees more when sitting higher.
What Type of Bike Is Best for Bad Knees?
You can choose between indoor and outdoor options if you have bad knees. Both types can be very beneficial as long as you do not have balance issues. Indoor cycling provides climatically controlled environments and a variety of resistance levels."
By contrast, outdoor cycling offers a variety of scenery and a naturally variable resistance. Additionally, there are electric bikes for arthritis that have ergonomic designs that can provide a great level of comfort while riding outside.
How to Choose a stationary Bike with Bad Knees?
An upright stationary bike is just like a traditional outdoor bike. A stationary platform has a seat, a pedal, and handles. Riding an upright bike is like riding outdoors, which is a whole-body workout. Recumbent stationary bikes are comfortable and have large seats. You sit in a more comfortable, reclining position on these bikes, which is easier on your lower back and hips. Recumbent bikes tend to be easier to get on and off than outdoor bikes because of their lower height, but they don't provide as much benefit as outdoor bikes. The reason is that you aren't getting the full range of motion of full bent and full straightening.
The two best ways to find the right indoor bike for you are:
- Test out each bike at your gym to determine which one is most comfortable for you.
- Ask your trainer how to position the seat correctly.
How to Choose an Outdoor Bike with Bad Knees?
The best way to train your legs and muscles is to ride an outdoor bike with a full range of motion. Your bicycle must be fitted properly before you begin riding. It is essential that your bike is fitted correctly by a local shop. You can also ask a professional for recommendations based on your condition. If you have knee pain, an elevated seat might be more comfortable for you. If you suffer from pain in your upper body or back, a hybrid bike with high handlebars might be more suitable.By sitting more upright, you may be able to alleviate pain. You can also ride an outdoor recumbent bike. When you have a professional bike fitting, your hips and knees will be seated optimally for your range of motion.
Can I Ride a Bike with Bad Knees?
Before beginning any exercise program, it is a good idea to consult your doctor. Work within your joints' current limitations. You can consult your doctor or physical therapist to determine if cycling is safe and how you can incorporate it into a workout routine that provides the maximum benefits without aggravating joint pain. Follow these tips to protect your joints:
Gently move your joints and entire body to warm up. You might start your aerobic workout with five to ten minutes of range-of-motion exercises.
Get the right gear
You should always wear a bike helmet when riding outdoors, along with simple eye protection (such as sunglasses) and bright clothing. To protect your hands from vibration or injury, you may also want to consider biking gloves. Plan your route before you leave. Cycling on dedicated trails keeps you away from traffic.
Start with a short ride
Begin with 5 or 10 minutes of low resistance. Gradually increase the length and intensity of your ride as you progress. You should increase the amount of moderately intense aerobic exercise you do each week to 150 minutes (five 30-minute sessions per week). Those 10 minutes might be easier on your joints if you split them up into smaller chunks. You can have a reasonable amount of conversation with your partner in the moderate-intensity zone, but you will be breathing faster.
Stop if Anything Hurts
Pay attention to your body. Take a break or change gears to reduce the resistance when your joints start to hurt. A sudden change in intensity can stress the patellofemoral joint [where the kneecap meets the thigh bone] and cause inflammation in the knee.
If you overestimated a hill, don't be afraid to climb it. If you experience new joint pain, stop riding. Talk to your doctor about what pain is normal and when it may indicate something more serious.
Stretch every day
You should remain active even if you have RA flare-ups or OA pain. Stretching will alleviate the pain to some extent and allow you to become more active in your daily activities instead of becoming stiff.
Even with bad knees, cycling can be incorporated into a person's daily routine to ease life and stay fit. The benefits of this activity include protection against serious conditions like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, and depression. The purpose of this piece is to help you understand the benefits of bike riding for arthritic knees.
Cycling may be beneficial for your knees if you do it correctly. However, you should speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program, whether it is bicycling or any other type of exercise. I wish you the best of luck.