New Study Shows Biking Linked to Reduced Knee Pain in Older Adults

Cycling Linked to Lower Knee Pain and Osteoarthritis Risk

A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has shed light on the benefits of regular bicycling in reducing the risk of knee pain, radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA), and symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis (SOA). This study is of particular interest to rheumatologists who often recommend physical activity as a means of preventing osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis.

The research, conducted by Dr. Grace Lo, associate professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, focused on the relationship between a history of bicycling and the symptomatic and structural outcomes of knee osteoarthritis. The study utilized data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multicenter observational study involving individuals aged 45 to 79 with knee osteoarthritis.

Participants were asked to report their leisure physical activity over their lifetime, including bicycling activities such as outdoor cycling, individual stationary cycling, or spinning during four age periods: ages 12-18, 19-34, 35-49, and 50 and older. The results showed that individuals who engaged in bicycling at any point in their lives reported less knee pain, ROA, and SOA compared to those who never biked. Furthermore, those who consistently biked across different age periods reported even fewer instances of these conditions.

According to the study, individuals who biked were 17% less likely to experience frequent knee pain, 9% less likely to have ROA, and 21% less likely to have SOA compared to non-bikers. Additionally, each increase in the number of age periods engaged in bicycling correlated with a lower likelihood of reporting knee pain, ROA, and SOA.

While the study had some limitations, such as the retrospective nature of the data collection, the findings suggest that bicycling may play a significant role in preventing knee pain and osteoarthritis later in life. Dr. Lo emphasized the importance of consistent physical activity, highlighting biking as a potential way to maintain good knee health over the long term.

In conclusion, the study provides valuable insights into the benefits of bicycling for knee health and underscores the importance of regular physical activity in preventing osteoarthritis. Further research on the impact of different exercises on joint health may offer additional strategies for managing and reducing the risk of osteoarthritis in the future.

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