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Is Cycling Good for Knee Pain or Not?

The dilemma is not entirely new: we’ve covered some of its aspects in our post on low-impact exercises. As we said then, low impact exercises can be great for your joints. Aside from being vital for your immune system or endurance, right exercises can do a lot for anyone with knee pain or knee osteoarthritis. The less impact on the joint, the less chance of injury; this is why many experts suggest that cycling – and swimming – are perhaps the best exercises for people with knee problems.

Whether you decide to bike indoors or outdoors, using road bikes, mountain bikes, or stationary bikes, the pedaling movement will help lubricate your joints and, in turn, reduce pain and stiffness. Cycling is also great for your glutes and hamstrings, and strengthening muscles surrounding the knee can help support and protect your joints. Regardless whether you are a beginner or an advanced cyclist, workout should feel good and not be something you get through only to have to deal with inflammation and discomfort afterwards.

Cycle at your own pace

Great thing about biking is that you can do it fast or slow, use lower gears, or go all out if you’re in the mood – it can be done at a wide range of intensities. If you suffer from knee pain, you should take that into account as well. Your pain might dictate the tempo: slow things down on days when pain levels are higher, and ramp things up when pain is at a minimum. It all works when it comes to stretching out sore knees, increasing range of motion and reducing stiffness and discomfort.

Biking helps with arthritis

Even if you have arthritic knees, stiff and sore, cycling and pedaling can help alleviate the joint pain and moving difficulties. Some exercises might be too hard for arthritic joints, but bike riding is often a great option. It makes the knee joint bend and stretch gently, helping to ease its movement.

Outdoor or indoor cycling?

Yet one more dilemma. Cycling indoors, on a stationary bike, might give you more control over the intensity and length of your ride. No sidewalks, no pedestrians, no surprises, no starts or stops at street crossings. You can adjust resistance at any point, and even stop the workout when you’re done without having to think of the energy needed for the return home. You can ride in any weather, and at any time of year.

Outdoor cycling, on the other hand, gives you that open air rush, and even a chance to run an errand while you are at it. You get to enjoy scenery and change things up from time to time, making that workout routine less monotonous. Ultimately, it is all up to you and your preferences.

The perfect bike

Best bike for bad knees? There’s no universal solution and no perfect bike in general. You need to find the right fit for you and you alone, matching your specific proportions and goals. The key idea: cycling should not make your knee pain worse. The most important will be the seat position on your bike: if it’s too high or too low, it will impact how your knees bend each time you pedal. The optimal position puts your knees at a 45-degree angle when at the top of a stroke, leaving a small bend in your knees when you extend your leg at the bottom.

As for stationary bikes… Aside from cycling, they will enable you to watch TV while at it, or let you cycle with a group in a class. Depending on your preferences and your goals, pick a bike that will address all your concerns and expectations.

Necessary gear and accessories

The necessary equipment is no less important, especially if you intend to cycle outdoors. First of all: the helmet. Find one that’s well designed and that fits you well, with a design you like. Second: the shoes. If you’re cycling to address knee pain on a daily basis, get the shoes designed for cycling, the ones with stiff soles and cleats, and with good arch support. 

Your clothing should be comfortable as well, and, ideally, made specifically for cycling. Most will help with aerodynamics, but don’t forget the visibility when on the road either, especially the reflective patches for the night rides. Comfortable cycling tights aside, your clothing should be made of stretchy, breathable fabric, ideally with moisture-wicking properties. Waterproof and windproof items will be great if your local climate calls for it.

Knee patch solution

Last but not least, if you need a knee pain management alternative, you should try – LUBRICEN® Knee Patch. Why? Because it can help your body produce synovial fluid, the body’s natural joint lubricant, just like cycling can. As we mentioned before, physical activity places various load forces on your knee joints. The result is often a loss of synovial fluid, which makes cartilage compromised and results in inflammation. This is the “knee pain” most people feel when exercising or trying to be physically active. 

LUBRICEN® Knee Patch can be applied and worn both during the cycling workout and before/after it. The patented diamagnetic micro-array technology built into the patch enhances the delivery of key ingredients – Glucosamine Sulfate, Chondroitin Sulfate, and Menthol – into bioavailable areas of the knee. As a result, you and your knees will feel better and – ready for action. 

Try cycling both with and without the patch and let us know how it went. We wish you and your knees a happy and pain-free future!