While it may seem counterintuitive, riding a bike will actually help reduce the pain stemming from arthritis. The link between cycling and arthritis has shown that cycling improves muscle function. It is also a great exercise for your heart and lungs. We are going to go over why this low-impact activity is so good for your joints when you do it in moderation.
Why Cycling Is Good For Joints
Cycling is a great activity to pick up if you have arthritis, given it is not a weight-bearing exercise. It will also strengthen muscles within your legs, providing extra support for your joints. Anything that will reduce the stress put on joints, especially on your hips, knees, and feet, will be an excellent activity to take part in. What’s more is that all of that pedaling provides additional lubrication to your joints, which will in turn reduce pain and stiffness.
There are several other reasons why cycling and arthritis should go together. These are:
1) Lose Weight
When you are overweight, you place additional stress on your joints. This can cause arthritis flareups that cause inflammation in your joints. Cycling helps you shed those pounds and minimize these side effects.
2) Strengthen Your Muscles
Pedaling strengthens your quadriceps, which are muscles on the front side of your thighs. This action also puts your glutes and hamstrings to work, which are both on the backside of your thighs. As mentioned before, more muscle means less stress on your joints.
How to Choose a Bike
There are many options when it comes to choosing a bike for cycling and arthritis. Here are three types of bicycles you should consider when searching for one:
1) Comfort Bike
This bike is designed to be as comfortable as possible. That means the handlebars are positioned higher than usual, enabling you to stay more upright and relaxed while pedaling. The benefits you receive from this include less stress being placed on your back, shoulders, and arms. The seat on this type of bike is very comfortable and soft, protecting you from bumps in the road. This one rides best on flat and paved roads
Just like the childhood version, a trike is a three-wheeled bicycle that gives you additional stability. This can be especially helpful if you have stability issues or never learned how to ride a regular bike.
3) Foot-Hand Cycle
With this type of bike, you are able to pedal using either your feet or hands. You have the option of either just using the handlebars or using only the foot pedals. If you want, you can use both simultaneously.
Tips to Start Cycling With Arthritis
If you have arthritis and want to start cycling, talk to your doctor first. You should first have a better understanding of what your joints can handle. This is something a medical professional will help you determine. Here are some tips that will help with cycling and arthritis:
1) Make Slow Movements
It would be best if you were slow and gentle with your joint movements when you start out. What can help is a set of exercises working on your range-of-motion for 5-10 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you can get started on your cycling.
2) Wear Protection
When you ride a bike, you have to protect yourself in case you fall and, in general, keep yourself safe. This means you should wear a helmet, UV-protective sunglasses, bright clothing, and cycling gloves. You can also plan ahead regarding where you will be cycling, so you can take roads less traveled to avoid traffic.
3) Take Short Trips Initially
You will want to ease into cycling. This means starting off riding for 5-10 minutes at a time, with low resistance. You can incrementally increase the amount of time and resistance of your cycling. You can comfortably get up to two and a half hours of moderate intensity every week. This comes out to around half an hour a day for five days out of the week.
4) Stop Cycling If You Feel Pain
You need to listen to your body. There are no universal rules when it comes to cycling and arthritis. If you are feeling your joints ache, either shift gears or stop riding. You have nothing to lose besides your pride. If you feel sustained pain, you should consult with your doctor.
5) Stretch Regularly
Stretching lightly can help you reduce the pain you may feel from arthritis flareups. It can also help loosen your muscles and make it easier for you to cycle.
How to Cycle With Knee Arthritis
Cycling with knee arthritis will require you to take a few additional precautions that most cyclists do not need to take. By doing so, you ensure you will protect your knees. Here is what you should do:
- Choose the right type of bike for you, such as a recumbent bike.
- Adjust the seat correctly.
- Start cycling slowly, working your way up to 60 cycles per minute.
- Start off riding 5-10 minutes per session.
- Rest if you get flareups.
How to Cycle With Hip Arthritis
As when cycling with knee arthritis, if you have hip arthritis, you can ride a bike provided you take precautions. Essentially, all of the same steps listed above should be followed if you want to cycle with hip arthritis. Remember to ride in gears where you have a low level of resistance, so as not to flare up your joints with inflammation.
Cycling and arthritis can go together if you take certain precautions and know how to ride correctly. In fact, riding a bike can reduce the inflammation you are feeling in your joints from arthritis. You can also take a natural joint supplement called JointFuel360 to reduce your joint pain even further. Thanks to ingredients like turmeric, black pepper extract, resveratrol, and Boswellia serrata, you can give your joints what they need to stay healthy and reduce pain.