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On your bike - again

Do you remember the sense of freedom and fun that you felt when you rode your first bike? Now could be a good time to rediscover it. These days we are lucky to have many parks and public cycle ways where you can ride without fear of cars1 and a large network of Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) and support groups have sprung up to support cycling2,3. Most likely you’ll find that cycling has not lost its charm4.

Cycling for people with Osteoarthritis

Cycling is a good choice of physical activity for people with Osteoarthritis, particularly those with Osteoarthritis of the knee, as it can help reduce pressure on the knee joint, compared to walking5. Here are some useful tips:5

- Cycle slowly and on flat ground
- If the bike has gears, use a lower gear as this requires less strength
- To help relieve pressure on the kneecap adjust the seat to the highest level.
- choose a safe place, such as a park, to cycle and avoid situations in which you have to brake suddenly.

If you don’t feel confident in your cycling skills at present, a short refresher course would be a good idea6. Check if your local park has a suitable course. Stationary cycling is also an option – using an exercise bike has proven benefits for people with Osteoarthritis7.

An Australian study found that taking up cycling again can provide a sense of empowerment, broaden and invigorate social networks, and be a source of simple pleasure4.
 
References:
  1. Cycling Trails. http://www.visitvictoria.com/Activities-and-attractions/Outdoor-activities/Cycling/Cycling-trails
  2. BUGs. http://www.bq.org.au/act/bugs/
  3. Cycling Advocates’ Network of New Zealand http://can.org.nz/about-can
  4. Zander A, et al. Journal of Environmental and Public Health 2013;1-6.
  5. American Arthritis Society: Practical Tips for Osteoarthritis of the knee, 2010.
  6. City of Sydney, sydneycycleways.net http://sydneycycleways.net/get-riding/free-cycling-courses-sydney/cycling-in-the-city-rusty-riders
  7. Salacinski AJ, et al. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2012;41(12):985-995.
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