Getting a proper amount of exercise on a bike becomes a habit for a lot of riders once they get into the sport. They know that burning calories is part of living healthy, and they want to make sure that their body stays in the best shape overall.
While cycling is considered a pretty safe sport overall, some have complained about its impact on a rider’s knees. Since knees are a vital part of a person’s body, keeping them healthy at all times is crucial.
Is Cycling Bad for Knees? Cycling is not considered a bad exercise for the knees. This is because the knees are not making contact with the hard ground, instead, moving in a fluid motion while pedaling along. The knees are engaged, but not to the same point as many other types of exercise.
How Cycling Helps Keep Knees Healthy
Before we look at some knee problems people can have when cycling, it’s important to notice why cycling is good.
Some people might not realize all the benefits that cycling can provide for those who have chronic knee problems, or a recently injury for that matter. (Source)
Reduced Joint Stress
Cycling reduces the stress put on joints all around the body. That means the knee is going through a low-impact exercise, instead of constantly being pushed. This helps to limit the impact stress has on the hips, feet, and other joints as well.
Moving around helps to lubricate the joints and reduce any pain or stiffness that is building up. This is why cycling is sometimes used as a warmup for other sports.
It’s very simple to make a cycling workout as easy or as tough as a person wants. This is good news for people who are trying to control the pain, since they won’t have to put too much stress on the body if needed.
In certain exercises, people must go a certain speed to feel everything the way they should. Having the ability to make adjustments to intensity helps out a lot.
Pedaling a bike isn’t the hardest workout in the world, but it does start to build muscle in all parts of the body. Even with average resistance with the bike pedals, it promotes a better range of motion in the area.
The muscles around the knee are also strengthened, which reduces the chances of knee problems popping out.
The quadricep muscles get very strong, as well as the glutes and hamstrings. The stronger these muscles are, the better protected the vital joints become in the body.
Every additional pound on a person’s body is that much more stress on the knees. By cutting weight, the chances of knee problems are reduced.
It helps to cut back on potential knee problems, as well as keeping the body healthier overall.
Is Biking Everyday Bad For Your Knees?
The saying goes that if an exercise is hurting the knees, or any part of the body for that matter, it’s probably not going to get any better by doing it every single day.
That’s why only those people who are not bothered by biking every day should actually do it.
If there is any soreness or injury issues with the knee after riding, make sure to allow for it to properly rest.
While it is true that cycling can help some riders get through tough parts of their life during recovery, too much can cause a setback.
Is Walking Or Biking Better For Knees?
Even though walking is considered a less strenuous exercise, it’s actually worse for the knees than biking. That’s because they are still heavily impacted by the hard ground when taking each step.
The pain can be much more amplified than the pain that a person feels when riding a bike. A lot of doctors will recommend that a person who has bad knees caused by walking or running a lot to consider biking.
They get roughly the same amount of cardiovascular workout, but they don’t have to worry about each step being more and more painful. It’s hard to fight off pain coming from a knee when putting the body’s weight on each one with each step.
Knee Pain And Cycling
It’s been shown that cycling can help reduce the chances of knee pain, or help someone get back on their feet. However, some people are feeling knee pain while they’re cycling, and that needs to be dealt with in a certain way.
The section below is a look at how to handle the situation, and ways to have healthier knees when doing this type of exercise.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Knee Pain For Cyclists?
General knee pain is usually mentioned by a cyclist who is struggling, but a few areas are more vulnerable than others. A lot of it comes from overuse, but there could be a particular problem that pops up when riding.
Anterior Knee Pain
Plenty of riders report having anterior knee pain. This is when the patellofemoral joint receives a lot of pressure and friction.
It can feel worse and worse during each pedal, which usually means that the rider should stop. (Source)
Patella or Quadriceps Tendinosis
This is pain that can happen either with cycling or running. Inflammation starts to happen in these areas, and it is more of a chronic pain than anything.
Many people need to find ways to manage this pain, as it’s not going to go away overnight. (Source)
How Can Cycling Cause Knee Problems?
Cycling is a great activity, for the most part, to keep knees healthy, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t cause some problems here and there.
Understanding why cycling is not always the best of ideas for people who have existing knee injuries can help someone stay safe.
Everyone likes having the opportunity to go faster and faster on their bike. The problem is, faster cadences can cause knee problems in a lot of different ways.
Maybe a person isn’t ready to go that speed, or their body hasn’t recovered from a previous ride.
Try to make sure to build up cadence in a responsible manner. Don’t try to push the pace too much if that level has never been reached before.
If the body’s been going through a lot lately, try to taper things down instead of pushing at all times. Sometimes, the best thing that can happen for the body is to take a nice and relaxing ride to recover. (Source)
Lack Of Rest
Cycling never feels like it is entirely strenuous, which is a big reason why some riders will get in the habit of not giving their body the proper amount of rest.
It’s true that no matter what type of exercise is out there, repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again is going to put some stress in certain parts of the body.
The knee is going to flare up particularly quickly compared to other parts of the body. It’s important to get a proper amount of rest so that this chance it’s greatly reduced.
Knee injuries for cyclists normally don’t just pop up out of nowhere. In fact, they have been brewing for quite a while, and it gets to a point where the knee is just unable to take it any longer.
Since there is no impact on the ground when cycling, the chances of twisting the knee or tearing something are nearly eliminated. This is good news for the type of knee problems, but there’s still a chance that others can pop up.
The best thing to do is to go back to the problem above, which is a lack of rest. If there seems to be pain, and a person is using their bike too much, take some time off to let things die down.
Pushing the pace too early when building that mileage can lead to a lot of overuse.
Final Word On Knee Health And Cycling?
People who currently don’t have any problems are going to be just fine picking up cycling and trying things out. In fact, it might be one of the best exercises that they can do to make the body healthier overall.
Those bouncing back from a knee injury might need to take things a little bit more slowly, and also make sure that they do things the right way. Failure to have the right type of form when riding a bike and recovering from a knee injury could cause more pain.
Just like with any sport, listen to the body and go from there. The knee is likely going to get plenty of warning before it starts to feel bad.
Remember that a bike is not going to tear apart, so it’s more of a gradual pain than anything. Pay attention to any type of change, and it will generally be good to go.