Outdoor or indoor, cycling is one of the most effective workouts for people with arthritis. “The continuous motion that’s part of cycling is very helpful for arthritic joints,” says Joseph Garry, MD, an associate professor in the division of sports medicine at the University of Minnesota.
“The more the joint moves through its full range of motion, the more synovial fluid is produced. This lubricates the joint so you move more easily the rest of the day.” And it’s effective whether you break a sweat or take it easy.
When good weather is calling, then it’s a great time to get started for the first time or back to your regular routine. If you don’t exercise regularly, start with 10 minutes of cycling at a low resistance, and gradually increase resistance, time and frequency, says Dr. Garry. Your goal should be 20 to 30 minutes of cycling a day.
Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way. More than ever, bikes are geared to nearly all abilities. Consider these three types for your next spin.
Comfort bikes. As the name suggests, these bikes are built for comfort. The high-handlebar allows pedal pushers to ride in a more neutral, upright and relaxed position, which can reduce stress on the back, shoulders and arms. The suspension below the wide, comfortable seat cushions the rider from shocks and bumps. They’re best for flat, paved roads.
Trikes. Remember your childhood tricycle. The adult you can still have fund. The three wheels of a trike provides stability and are perfect for people with compromised balance or who never learned to ride a two-wheeled bike. You and your partner could try a side by side dual trikes if you want to ride together. Trikes can be pretty pricey – less expensive models can cost almost $300.
Foot-Hand Cycles. You can pedal from a seated position by foot or by hand. It can be a good way to get an upper lower body workout. You can use the handlebar only – the foot pedals only – or both at the same time. Don’t be surprised to see an indoor one at your physical therapist’s office.
Authors: Bryan Vargo and Michele Andwele
Looking for a reason to stay active? Register for our upcoming Walk to Cure Arthritis 5K, where you can help raise funds for research, resources and a cure. Much more than just a walk event, it’s something even bigger than arthritis itself! Register today!
- Benefits of Stationary Cycling
- More About Biking with Arthritis
- Sign Up for an Arthritis Bike Classic Event