Cycling Tips for People with Osteoarthritis
Cycling is a great and fun way to keep fit, but it can become unbearable the moment joint pains start to kick in. That may sound farfetched for a person who can enjoy riding a bike right now, but a look at statistics would force anyone to sit and listen.
According to Arthritis Research, there are around 8.5 million people who have sought treatment for arthritis in the UK. There are probably more who have not been diagnosed. And arthritis is not a problem for the aged only. Osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis, is affecting people as young as 30.
Is it all doom and gloom then?
No, it’s not. People can still enjoy a good cycling experience regularly even when they have osteoarthritis. Actually, riding a bike can be a good way to manage the condition. It is, however, necessary to keep some precautions in mind to avoid aggravating the disease. Here are some tips to help osteoarthritis patients stay on the track.
Seek Medical Help
If you experience any symptoms of osteoarthritis, seek medical help immediately. Do not ignore simple joint pains which persist whenever you ride (or make other joint movements). Neither should you start treating symptoms as the disease itself without a diagnosis.
A medical expert will tell you whether you are really suffering from arthritis and, if yes, how to manage it. They will show you how you should handle your riding, including the duration and intensity of your rides.
Get the Right Gear
Besides the usual riding gear, osteoarthritic riders will need to have special equipment to enhance safety and support. Support for the specific ailing joints is necessary to keep them warm and firm. Clothing worn should also be warm; the shorts go out and get replaced by long, athletic tights or tracksuit bottoms. The shoes should also be comfortable and have a good sole to enhance traction.
Adjust Your Riding Schedule
As much as osteoarthritis should not be a reason to stop riding, ignoring it would be catastrophic. The riding schedule should be adjusted mostly to rhyme with favourable weather. Also, ensure you follow a riding path which does not put too much demand on your joints.
Join a Group
Even with proper management, there will be pains every now and then when you ride with arthritis. The temptation to quit will come, and it will hit strongly. Having a network of people who have been through or continue to experience the same problems can be a source of motivation. They encourage you to push on and give tips on how to overcome some setbacks. A support group will go a long way in keeping you encouraged.