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Bike your way to better knee health


Engaging in low-impact exercises is crucial as we age, particularly for those managing arthritis pain. A recent study highlights biking as a potential key to preventing knee pain and arthritis.

Study insights on biking and knee health

Published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the study within the Osteoarthritis Initiative examined over 2,600 participants. It found that individuals who biked at any point were 17% less likely to develop knee pain and 21% less likely to develop arthritis with knee pain than non-bikers. Moreover, the more time spent biking, the lower the likelihood of experiencing knee pain and signs of osteoarthritis later in life.

Why biking benefits the knees

  • Biking is a low-impact activity that reduces stress on knee joints compared to high-impact exercises.
  • It promotes joint mobility, maintaining flexibility and preventing stiffness.
  • Cycling aids in the circulation of synovial fluid, which lubricates the knee joint and provides nutrients to the cartilage.
  • It strengthens muscles around the knees, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, providing stability and support.

Physical therapists emphasize the importance of resistance while biking to build muscle strength effectively. Biking offers a controlled motion that maintains joint health without excessive strain, making it preferable for knee health over running.

The bottom line

The study suggests that long-term biking may lead to less breakdown in knee joints, demonstrated by fewer complaints of knee pain and less evidence of osteoarthritis on x-rays. Regular physical activity, including biking, can be a proactive measure to support knee health and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis. However, individuals should listen to their bodies, start gradually, and seek personalized advice from healthcare professionals.