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What Type Of Exercise Bikes Are Good / Bad For Your Knee Joints?

Published by Kieran
Last Updated on November 3, 2021

Should you use an exercise bike if you have bad knee joints or arthritis?

Unless your doctor has explicitly advised against it, then you should certainly use an exercise bike as they allow your knee joints to stretch without intense pain.

Excersise bikes are one of the best ways to keep active and easily integrate a daily dose of exercise into your everyday routine. But what if you have a physical issue with your knees such as arthritis?

Find out how you can still make the most out of an exercise bike without worsening your condition.

Do not skip your warm up!

Regardless of if you have bad knee joints or not, warming up before any form of exercise is extremely important. But it is especially important if you already have a physical limitation.

Doing a warm-up before exercise allows your body to prepare for the amount of activity it is about to engage in. This does not just mean getting your muscles ready for a workout but also your heart, lungs and leaves you mentally prepared for the challenge ahead.

Warm-ups are particularly great for telling your body to increase the range of motion available to your joints increasing your range of motion in your joints so that you can exercise for longer with less pain.

For more advise on how to prepare for your work out, click here.

Remember to cool down

Just as important as warming up is cooling down after your exercise, especially after exercising a part of your body that often causes you pain.

Stretching and cooling down after your workout gives your body the much needed time to calm down and for your heart rate to go back to a normal pace. Doing so will then inform the rest of your body that it can relax and repair itself.

While there are many ways to cool down, stretching out your legs is the best option as it will allow your muscles to stretch out after being put under strain.

Stretching will also make sure that you avoid as much joint or muscle pain as possible post-workout.

Should I use an exercise bike with arthritis?

Even though there are many reasons why someone may suffer from aching joints, one of the biggest causes of bad knees is arthritis. But do not worry, just because you have arthritis does not mean that you have to miss out on using an exercise bike!

Several studies have been done over the years regarding the advantages of using a regular or exercise bike once a patient has developed arthritis specifically in their knees.

What they have found is that there is a significant reduction in not just the stiffness of the joint but also the pain levels that the individual experiences.

Just make sure to follow the advice given throughout this article and follow any medical advice on exercising with arthritis in your knees and you are just as capable of taking advantage of your exercise as anyone else with bad knees.

Why a stationary bike?

The reason that so many knee joint suffers buy a stationary exercise bike rather than a regular bike is due to the benefits that exercise bikes offer.

Of course, the most noteworthy advantage is the lack of obstacles or uneven surfaces you encounter when using a stationary bike. Having to pedal up a hill or deal with rocky surfaces not only unnecessarily jolt your joints but also increases the level of resistance you face.

Sure, there are ways to aid that resistance by changing your bike gears but an exercise bike allows you to have more control over how much strain you put on your knees. You are able to build yourself up to the more challenging resistance levels without causing yourself injury.

The best types of exercise bikes for bad knees

Once you have decided to go with an indoor exercise bike, choosing the right one can be an overwhelming experience. Especially so considering the various types of bikes available, all with different advantages.

However, the best two types of stationary bikes are the upright bike and the recumbent bike:

Upright excerise bikes

Upright exercise bikes are the type of exercise bikes that most people would have used at the gym and are most like typical moving bikes but with the advantage of resistance control.

They also target your whole body as like a traditional moving bike thanks to the higher positioned seat. This means that you have to stretch your legs further, elongating your knee joints and providing more thorough exercise.

It is worth noting that because upright bikes are designed in the same way as outdoor bikes, there is no back support.

This may not be a disadvantage for most people and their problem lays in their knee joints, but. for those who also suffer from upper body arthritis or pain, the lack of support could be more damaging to your body.

It is for this reasons that some who experience painful join movement prefer recumbent bikes.

Recumbent exercise bikes

It is not often that many people would have seen or used a recumbent bike as they do not share the look of outdoor bikes.

Recumbent bikes are designed to take the pressure off of the user's back and hips with a large chair in place of the typical bicycle seat.

They also tend to be lower to the ground to be more accessible for people with painful joints who struggle to get on or off of a traditional exercise bike.

Even though recumbent bikes are not often used by able-bodied people, do not be fooled to think that they offer less exercise. They are designed to be just as effective as standard exercise bike but allows you to relieve weight pressure on your hips.

Being so low to the ground does mean that your amount of flexibility available to your knee joints is limited so do not use a recumbent bike if you are able to comfortably ride an upright exercise bike as you may do more damage to your knees.

Which exercise bikes to avoid?

The whole point of using an exercise bike when you have bad knee joints is to allow for a pain-free, resistance-free exercise opportunity. As such there are certain exercise bikes that you should avoid.

While spinning is a great low impact activity that many gyms offer group classes on, for people with knee pain, spinning bikes can do more harm than good.

Spinning bikes are designed to speed up as you get more into the activity, creating a more intense workout. As such, your entire body weight gets shifted to your knees and ankles.

It is true that for some bad joint sufferers, the added weight is the exact strain they need to aid knee joint recovery. But for those who are constantly dealing with the pain, too much additional weight on your joints can cause extra stiffness and lack of flexibility.

If you are unsure which exercise bike would be best for you, then go to a shop or take a trip to your local gym and try out the various exercise bikes there.

Or, if those options are not available to you, ask your doctor which bike would be best for your joint condition so that you do not have to miss out on leg day.

About the author
Published by Kieran
A star athlete during his school days, Kieran quickly excelled at sports and in particular; football. Kieran's true passion lies in home exercise equipment, and so was was built as a source for all of Kieran's thoughts to be put down on a medium. Here he guides you through various nuances of working out at home, tips, guides, reviews and more.The only other thing Kieran enjoys more than working out, is writing about it.
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