The knee is comprised of various structures than any other joint in the body. This is why it is prone to pain and injury even if it is a weight-bearing joint. The elements that contribute to the knee pain include overuse, abnormal joint structure, unusual movement or degenerative conditions such as arthritis. There are exercises such as indoor bicycling that can help strengthen the knees as well as relieve the knee pain.
What are the benefits of cycling on knee pain?
Cycling helps strengthen the muscles at the front part of the thighs or quadriceps muscles that are vital in protecting the knees. With stronger muscles, they stabilize the knees for better shock absorption, thus minimizing the damage and knee pain.
It is also an ideal type of workout that minimizes the rotational torque or twisting motion of the knee. In addition, this form of exercise lubricates the knee joints, thus minimizing the swelling and suppressing the knee pain. Indoor cycling is highly recommended in managing knee pain since it helps prevent further shock from uneven terrain, accidents or disruptions with the routine.
Selecting the right bike
If an individual suffers from knee pain, overweight, back issues or a senior, it is best to opt for a recumbent bike which is more comfortable. This type of bike has a wider seat, supportive back rest and prevents the individual from climbing up onto the seat.
Just make sure that the bike used has foot straps that distribute the work between the hamstrings and quadriceps. If there are no straps, the quadriceps performs most of the work.
Proper form while cycling
Even though cycling can help reduce knee pain, it will only cause further injury if incorrectly done. It is vital to observe the following while cycling.
- Always make sure that the seat is level with the floor. If the seat is pointed upwards, it adds extra pressure on the groin. If pointed downwards, it strains on the arms and shoulders.
- The saddle should be positioned at a height that enables the knees to bend at a slight angle when at the lowest pedal position.
- Avoid abrupt stops and starts during the workout since this reduces the flow of blood and lubrication of the joints.
Considerations to bear in mind
If the individual has been suffering from persistent or long-lasting knee pain, it is best to consult a doctor before he/she starts any exercise program. In case the individual has any current health issues such as diabetes or heart disease, a doctor should be consulted first.
The doctor or physical therapist can provide the proper guidelines on how often the individual should cycle and how long in order to avoid injuries to the knee due to overuse. Additionally, cycling should only be part of the treatment plan. The individual should still take part in other activities such as stretching exercises as well as weight training.