Is Cycling Good for Your Joints?

Cycling improves joint health and leg strength.

Cycling improves joint health and leg strength.

Whether you are experiencing chronic joint pain and inflammation, or if you're just tired of the same old treadmill routine, cycling represents a healthy alternative cardio and strength exercise for many women. One of the big knocks on running is the impact it can have on your ankles, knees and hips. Overuse and the constant pounding on hard surfaces can do damage over time, but cycling is a lower-impact exercise that can actually improve the health of your joints.

Benefits for Joints and Muscles

The Better Health Channel recommends cycling exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week. You're still going to be burning calories and trimming fat, but you're also going to increase muscle strength and flexibility, improve joint mobility, improve posture and strengthen your bones. When it comes down to it, cycling essentially offers the same benefits of running without the negatives.

Pain Management

Many women are dealing with nagging injuries or chronic conditions that affect the health and stability of their joints, such as arthritis. Some activities can aggravate your pain symptoms, but MayoClinic.com suggests cycling as a low-impact method for managing these conditions. You should avoid running, jumping and most sports exercises, but cycling will likely do more to help you than hurt you when it comes to your joints.

Overuse

When it comes to any kind of workout routine, moderation can spell the difference between continued improvements or taking two steps back for every one step forward. Even an exercise as low impact as cycling can be damaging to your joints if you push yourself too far. The June 2011 edition of "Sports Medicine" states that up to 50 percent of cyclists experience knee pain because of overuse. Don't make yourself a part of this statistic and take a day or two off between cycling sessions.

Considerations

In order to avoid overuse injuries that can come with cycling, don't exceed 30 to 45 minutes on the bike per day, and make sure you do a solid warm-up before starting your workout. "Sports Medicine" suggests that seat height has a lot to do with knee pain in cyclists, so adjust your seat to the height you feel most comfortable at. If you're overweight or out of shape, consult with a doctor before getting on the bike.

 

About the Author

Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.

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