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It is the New Year and you are looking for a way to ease back into shape without getting injured. There is nothing more forgiving for those with knee and back problems than a low-impact exercise bike.
In fact, according to LiveStrong.com, “Riding a stationary bike carries a very low risk of injury if used properly. It doesn't require pounding the joints like some aerobic exercises do, and it's easy on the knees, feet and ankles. This makes it good for older people who may have balance problems, arthritis or other age-related conditions.”
As featured in Arthritis Today, physical therapist, Matthew Goodemote says indoor cycling is a great exercise alternative for those who cannot bear excess stress on their joints. It is also important for those with an inability to maintain stability and balance on a road bike.
“It’s also a good option for people with balance problems, he adds, because there is no need to lean the bike to turn. 'People with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis who become inactive because of pain often develop balance problems, so they are less likely to injure themselves on a stationary bike,' he says.”
I myself have used an exercise bike while rehabbing a lumbar disc injury. It helped me maintain my cardiovascular endurance during the course of time I was unable to hike or run.
During this time I opted for a recumbent bike which allowed me to take the pressure off of my low back. It also provided a nice hamstring workout to strengthen those posterior leg muscles which help support my lumbar spine. In fact, I own a recumbent bike and use it when I cannot make it outdoors or to the gym.
If you like the traditional feel of cycling, but do not want to brave the outdoor elements, then an upright bike may be more up your fitness alley. Upright bikes like recumbent bikes can be adjusted to your height and leg lengths.
Remember to use proper body mechanics and utilize both your hamstrings and quadriceps. It is imperative to make sure the bike is adjusted correctly with only a slight bend in your knee.