Riding a bicycle is a favored activity of both children and many adults. While some people choose to ride their bikes occasionally for others it is a daily activity and still others actually compete in long distance races on both street and mountain bikes. Most people know that biking is a good form of exercise, but is biking good for the knees?
The honest answer to question “Is biking good for your knees?” is yes, but also a qualified no. Like anything is life there are both good and not so good aspects of biking when it comes to knee health and strain.
After all, both those people who have newly taken up bicycling for exercise and those who do a lot of bicycle riding often complain that they suffer from aching knees leaving them wondering if bicycling is a good remedy for this.
As such, the answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem since there are lot of things to consider in reaching a conclusion of whether or not biking is good for knees. Here is a general look at some of these considerations
Why Biking May Not Be Good for Your Knees
Here are the reasons or rather situations that may make biking not good for the health of your knees.
- Not Making Sure that Your Bike is a Proper Fit- One the reasons why biking could actually cause you to have knee problems is because many people may not know how to make sure that their bike seat and pedals are the proper fit for the length of their legs. If your bicycle seat is too tall or too short it can create problems for your knees. You also need to make sure that pedals of your bike are too close or too far away from the frame of the bike or again you can experience knee pain and eventually some knee damage.
- Changing the Way Your Ride- If you suddenly begin riding faster, harder or much longer than you have been riding it could result in knee injury.
- Riding Too Much- Recreational riders may not have the perfect fit on their bike and when you compound that with riding longer distances then you can suffer injury from overuse.
Keep in mind that any of these situations can be avoid with a little care and help from a professional when you need it.
Why Biking is Good for Your Knees
If you make sure that your bike’s seat and pedals are correctly set for the length of your legs and you don’t suffer an overuse injury from riding your bike faster, harder or longer than normal then biking can actually be good for your needs.
For starters biking is a low impact exercise so that your needs won’t take a pounding like running, playing tennis, basketball or other such sports cause. In addition, when biking the movement of your legs and needs is very close to the natural range of movement so you won’t be forcing your knees into positions that are unnatural.
In addition if an upright bike is too uncomfortable to provide you with the exercise you want and need then a recumbent bike is often found to work better since it gives you some back support and puts the pedals out towards the front rather than in a downward motion.
Is biking good for your knees? When done properly biking is one of the safest activities for your knees and it can also be tons of fun for you as well.
The Impact of Various Exercises on Knee Health
Basically any type of exercise that involves the muscles and joints in your knees, ankles and legs are divided into two categories; High impact exercises and low or no impact exercises. Exercises that calls for running, jogging, jumping etc. are considered to be high impact exercisers because the joint in your body impact with hard surfaces resulting in possible injury and damage to various joints including your knee joints.
Exercises such as swimming, biking, etc. are consider low impact, because that your joints don’t take a jarring when engaged in these types of activities. Low impact exercises are better for your joint health. Therefore to answer the question is bicycling good for your knees? Then when it comes to risk of joint injury due to high impact the answer is yes. However, like anything else, bicyclist can suffer from overuse injuries ( caused by doing repetitive movements) from riding a bike if they don’t follow certain procedures.
First Make Sure Your Have Strong Leg Muscles Before Riding A Bike for any Length of Time or Distance
If you haven’t been exercising other than riding a bike then you haven’t given all your leg muscles the opportunity to become strong enough to help protect your knee joints from bearing the brunt of this exercise. Before biking on a regular basis for exercise you need to engage in a full range of leg exercises to strengthen the muscles in both your upper and lower leg.
In addition, in order to ride a bike for a long distance or at higher speeds you need to warm up your leg muscles first. You can achieve this by riding your bike at a slower pace until your muscles have an opportunity to warm up and begin to stretch like they are suppose to.
You Need The Proper Fit of Your Bike Seat and Pedals
You also need to make sure that both the seat of your bike is set at the proper height to allow for proper pedaling without putting excess strain on your knees. Your bike seat needs to be individually adjusted to your leg length.
You also need to make sure that the pedals of your bike are neither to close to the frame nor too far away to the frame so that your knees are properly aligned when riding your bike.
If you engage in leg strengthen exercisers and make sure that your seat and pedals are properly fit and aligned with your legs then the answer to the question is bicycling good for knees is yes, or at least it shouldn’t be harmful to your knees or knee joints.
Most people who know anyone who bikes a lot has probably heard them complain at one time or another about aching knees if not actual knee pain, yet physiotherapy clinics actually use bicycles of one type or another to help people recover from knee injuries, which seems to lead to a great deal of confusion when trying to determine if bicycling is good for one’s knees.