How To Get Started With Biking When You Have Arthritis
If you’re new to exercise, try limiting yourself to “easy riding” for the first two to three weeks for example, about 20 minutes of cycling a day on a flat surface, says Dr. Garry. He recommends avoiding power work , speed work and high-intensity interval training until you build up your strength.
“People shouldn’t get off the bike and say, ‘All my muscles are absolutely beat,'” Dr. Garry says. The goal, he says, is to pick up the pace gradually, first by increasing speed , then by increasing resistance.
For the first three weeks of your cycling regimen, you’ll probably feel escalating knee pain, in part because you may be irritating parts of the joint with little-to-no cartilage, says Dr. Garry. But around the third week, the pain tends to peak, and around the sixth week, the pain de-escalates so much that you’ll have little if any pain compared to when you first started working out.
It’s important to be aware of this timeline, says Dr. Garry. Many people with knee osteoarthritis will exercise for a week or so, then stop because they’re in pain and think they’re “ruining” their joint, he says. “They don’t realize that this is a phase they have to work through to strengthen their muscles,” he says.
While there’s never a bad time to go for a bike ride, many people with knee osteoarthritis say there’s a benefit to exercising in the a.m. “Lots of my patients say they like exercising in the morning because their knee feels better all day long,” says Dr. Garry.
Upright Stationary Exercise Bike
An upright exercise bike is very similar to your traditional bikes. You sit in an upright position, hunching over a little and your neck slightly bent.
Pros of Upright Exercise Bike
- Low impact workout
Cons of Upright Exercise Bike
- It can give soreness of muscle, especially to the back.
- The upright stationary bike might not be a suitable one for folks with back problems
- It comes with a small seat compared to a recumbent exercise bike
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Use A Stationary Bicycle First
A recurring suggestion, from both professionals and patients alike, is to prepare for e-bike riding by using a stationary bicycle first.
Riding a stationary bicycle allows you to get used to the motion of cycling without putting any strain on your back or hips. This will help build up the muscles in your knees to better support your joints while riding your e-bike.
If you have had a knee replacement, ask your doctor when it is appropriate to begin exercise. Patients have stated that you can likely begin with the recumbent bicycle two weeks after knee replacement surgery and can begin riding your e-bike six weeks after.
However, it is imperative to keep up with all your appointments and exercises that have been prescribed by your doctor and physiotherapist. Ultimately, you must listen to your own body and determine what your own boundaries and limits are.
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The Reasons Why A Stationary Bike Is Good For Bad Knees :
1. Take a load off:
Cycling on a stationary bike takes your weight off the knees thereby allowing the quads and hamstring muscles to work without the load.
Additionally, cycling does not involve any extreme flexing of the knee joint, as would be required in say weight lifting, nor is one using the knees to sprint only to suddenly stop, like in soccer or tennis or squash.
2. Simple cardio:
Theres no question that cycling is an excellent way to get a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints., according to the Arthritis Foundation.
The refreshing release that comes from a good cardio session shouldnt come at the cost of a limp.
You can increase your heart rate and get your circulation pumping with the peddling action. Stationary cycling preserves the knee by putting minimum weight on the joint and it is considered gentler than walking.
This makes it a popular and appropriate exercise to help recover from painful knees.
3. Whenever, wherever:
Unlike running outdoors, the beauty of a stationary bike is that you will never be restricted as to when or where you may use it. Whether you choose to peddle in a charged arena, such as a spin class, or the comfort of your own home, the option is always available to you.
The best part is that with a stationary bike you cant indulge in excuses about bad weather its a whenever and wherever convenient form of exercise thats easy to do and enjoyable as well.
Riding Too Much Too Soon
When youre getting into cycling either as a hobby or you start to commute to work, your knees will experience some strain. This is normal, especially if you havent done much exercise before.
Pedaling too hard, too far, too soon is the most common cause of knee pain for beginners. Your bones, ligaments, and muscles can handle long distances and hard pedaling if they get used to it in a gradual way.
Tight and inflamed ligaments, especially IT band is a sure sign for beginners that they did too much too soon. If this is your case, you need to take some time to recover in order to prevent further and worse injuries. Recovery is an important part of exercise, and initially, longer recovery periods are required.
For example, if you bike commute 6 miles or more each way, its best to start off cycling one or two days a week and add another day every two weeks. It also helps if you start off slow and build up speed over time.
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Strengthening Exercises For Osteoarthritis
Muscle strengthening can come from lifting hand weights, using flexible tubing, even lifting a 1-liter water bottle.
To start a hand-weight program, use weights that you can lift 12 to 15 times with good form . Make sure you feel comfortable using the weights. Get started with these simple strengthening exercises. Do two or three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each.
- Biceps curls: Start with elbows bent at the sides. Keeping your upper arm at your side, bring one dumbbell up to your shoulder. Lower to original position and repeat with opposite arm. Continue to alternate between sides.
- Triceps extensions: Use both hands to hold weight overhead. Keeping your elbows pointed upward, lower the weight behind your head. Raise weight overhead again. Return and repeat.
- Side lateral raises: With arms down at your sides, raise arms to shoulder height. Lower and repeat.
- Wall push-up: This exercise is great for people who are not able to do a regular push-up. Stand with feet about 12 inches from a wall. Place hands a little wider than shoulders. Lower your chest to the wall, then push back to the starting position.
Use cold packs after exercising if you need. Many people with arthritis wrap up their exercise routine this way.
How To Stop Knees From Hurting
If you experience knee pain, you can try:
- Foam rolling to decrease knee tension and pain. This popular physiotherapy technique aims to stretch the iliotibial band on your thigh.
- Stretching. Some light yoga or Pilates on your rest days can improve mobility, flexibility, and thus, alleviate pain. Watch out, though some stretches may do more harm than good for example, overextending inflamed muscles. In this case, some small rotations or massage may be better.
- Compression sleeves. These devices improve blood circulation in the affected area, decrease swelling, and allow your muscles to recover faster.
Warning: Only try these techniques after talking with your GP/physiotherapist to avoid extra injury to those knees.
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Exercise Bike Or Treadmill For Bad Knees: Which Is Better
Exercise bikes and treadmills are the trending exercise machines that most people use either at home or in the gym. The best part is both of them are sufficient for cardio work out and can be of great help if you have bad knees. However, one must outweigh the other, and that is what we are going to look into.
Using a treadmill or an exercise bike entails a lot of motion directed on your knees. Many people find running on a treadmill to be easier on your joints as compared to using an exercise bike. But what makes an exercise bike stand out is it does not strain your joints as you exercise hence it is better than a treadmill.
When it comes to safety, an exercise bike is better than a treadmill because the overall safety of your body is taken care of. This means that your knees will not suffer more when using an exercise bike though it can happen on a treadmill. Think how fast you can fall off of a treadmill with bad knees you will not be safe.
Stress on joints
The activity of exercising itself is another point to bear in mind when opting for an exercise bike or treadmill. Between the two, which will cause more stress on joints? The treadmill will thus you should not consider it, especially if it does come with a degree of shock absorption. A treadmill can cause more pain on your knees due to stress on joints.
What Is The Best Exercise Equipment For Arthritic Knees
When you type this question on the web, you will find that a workout bicycle ranks high among the types of equipment you can use with bad joints.
We have already said that indoor bicycling is classified as a low impact workout. But there are more benefits!
For example, with a stationary bike, you can exercise in a climate-controlled environment, unlike when you undertake outdoor cycling.
The bike also comes with adjustable resistance options, which you can choose depending on how much pedal resistance you want. If you have painful joints, you can choose a low resistance level and vice versa.
Indoor exercise bicycles are also useful to those with balance problems or people who cant walk well. That is why they are so popular because even people recovering from sickness can use them.
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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.
Exerpeutic 900xl Recumbent Exercise Bike With Pulse
If you have no issue with space at home, then the EXERPEUTIC 900XL Recumbent Exercise Bike with Pulse is another great product that should be on your list. This is an oversized bike, which is why we do not recommend it for small spaces.
When using this recumbent bike for bad knees, you can choose from eight resistance levels. There is an easy dial adjustment, making it effortless to set the intensity that you prefer. If you have constantly painful knees, it is best to choose a low resistance level.
You will be comfortable when using this exercise bike because of the oversized seat and backrest. This will also minimize the strain on your lower body, especially your knees.
The LCD computer that comes with this equipment might be small, but it does the job. It displays information you need to know about your workout. The bike also has hand pulse sensors, which will monitor your heart rate.
If you have a noisy fitness bike, you have another good reason to choose this product, it has a flywheel and other components that are designed to operate with minimal noise.
While it is a bulky bike, moving it around your house does not need to be a complicated task. You can do so even on your own as it comes with transportation wheels.
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Exercise Bike Or Treadmill For Bad Knees: Which Is Better In 2022
If you have bad knees, exercising can be a daunting task because you will have to indulge in high-impact exercises most of the time. This is why you need to focus on low-impact machines so as not to hurt your knees further. Most of the time, exercise bikes are used for your joints as compared to the treadmill. An exercise bike is safer and increases knees muscles strength.
In order not to aggravate old injuries, you can find the best work out plan to work with between an exercise bike or treadmill for bad knees. This way, you will be able to attain your fitness goals without causing more harm. If you are suffering from bad knees or recovering from knee surgery, an exercise bike would be ideal compared to a treadmill. On the other hand, a treadmill is also good because it is a low-impact exercise ideal for strengthening bones and muscles.
Are Exercise Bikes Good For Bad Knees
Exercising with a stationary bike is one of the best for bad knees because the exercise is done without placing body weight on the injured leg.
The knee joint is also strengthened thereby reducing knee pains from injuries. It is, however, important to get medical advice from your doctor or fitness trainer to be sure your cycling will be a great exercise for your knee condition.
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Why Cycling Is Good For Your Joints
Number one: less joint stress. Cycling is a low-impact exercise, says Shroyer. This means that cycling limits impact stress on weight-bearing joints, like your hips, knees, and feet. Plus, the movement helps lubricate the joints, which reduces pain and stiffness. Other benefits of bicycling include:
Weight control: Excess pounds can exacerbate inflammatory arthritis, as well as put increased pressure on your joints, particularly your knees.
Adjustable intensity: Bicycling can be done at a wide range of intensities. If you tend to go a little slower, you can coast once in a while, or use the lower gears to ease the burden on your legs. Research has shown in people with knee osteoarthritis, low-intensity cycling is as effective as high-intensity cycling in improving function and gait, decreasing pain, and boosting aerobic fitness.
Muscle strengthening: When the bikes pedal resistance is moderate, it not only promotes range of motion at the hip and knee, but also strengthens your quadricep muscles , says Shroyer. Pedaling works your glutes and hamstrings , to a lesser degree. Strong muscles help support and protect your joints.
Find The Right Bike And Use It Correctly
Step 1 Go to a bike shop where a sales partner can find the right fit and bike based upon individual requirements. The Arthritis Foundation advises test driving several types of bikes to find one that feels comfortable. Bikes come with different types of seats, handle bar designs and tire sizes.
For some with arthritis, the best choice is a recumbent bike. These are bikes where the legs and feet are out in front of the hips versus being underneath the hips. This position can take pressure off of painful knees and they are easier to get on and off than an upright bike. They do take some practice to get used to, however in the long run recumbent bikes might provide a more comfortable trip.
Step 2 To get full benefits of cycling you need to set the bike up correctly. Having the seat height in the incorrect position can do more harm than excellent. The seat height need to be changed so that when sitting on the bike, the knee joint should be almost straight when the pedal is at the bottom position, mentions REI.
The knee joint ought to never ever lock while pedaling and the joint should not be too bent at the bottom position. Both of these scenarios will place excessive strain on the knee and can cause injury. If the seat height is set correctly, while pedaling, the knee joint should move from its full variety of movement.
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What Is The Best Exercise Bike For Knee Problems
There are many factors to be considered before affirming an exercise bike to be the best and what might be the best for an individual might not be a great fit for another person. The health benefits of an exercise bike are many, therefore, selecting the best one should be of utmost importance. There are two types of stationary bikes:
Is Riding A Stationary Bike Good For Bad Knees
If all the evidence shows that stationary bikes can damage your knees, how come your physiotherapist recommended you exercise on one?
Firstly, we agree that working out a damaged or painful knee can seem counterintuitive. However, not exercising can lead to more pain because of increased stiffness and muscle atrophy.
Imagine the effect that would have on your life.
Of course, not all exercises are recommended for bad knees. The worst of the bunch are based on full-arc knee extensions, such as:
- The full-body gym exercise machine
- Full-depth lunges
- Strength training
- Hurdlers stretches
As a result, specialists recommend upright bikes for people with arthritis and recumbent bikes for severe pain. The reason is that recumbent cycles put less pressure on your knees and make it easier for you to keep a correct posture on them.
Heres how an upright or recumbent bike can help your bad knees:
- You strengthen the muscles around your knees without excess pressure or flexing your knee joint. In turn, these muscles support and protect your knee caps.
- You protect your knees from the possible impacts that come with cycling outside. For example, you wont have to deal with bumps and potholes.
- You increase joint mobility and flexibility.
- You strengthen your bones and joints.
Pro tip: Pay attention to your bikes resistance type too:
- Direct-contact resistance isnt best if you have knee problems because its hiccupy and tough.
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