Running, Biking... Why Not Both? Elliptical Bikes Offer A Great Compromise For People With Joint Pain

When you have joint problems, exercise can be challenging. Both running and biking, two of the best cardiovascular exercises, can be difficult for sufferers of joint pain. If you're looking for a low-impact way to get around town and get your daily dose of exercise, you should look into the benefits of an elliptical bike.

Biking Doesn't Have To Be Hard On Your Joints

While riding a traditional bike around town can be fun and can help you build muscle, it can also be hard on your joints. The posture for riding a bike usually includes bending forward, which can be impossible to maintain if you have a bad back. When cycling, the knees have to come up at sharp angles fairly quickly in order to keep your speed up, and this can be a big problem for riders with bad knees.

Elliptical cycling solves these problems handily. Your motion when cycling will mimic naturally running, which means you don't have to bend your knees sharply and you can keep your back perfectly straight. This makes elliptical bikes uniquely suited for physical therapy and use by people who suffer from chronic joint issues.

You Can Take The Impact Out Of Running

Unlike biking, which is considered low-impact no matter where you go, running is almost always tough on your the bones and feet in your joints. If like to run on a safe, lit, well-maintained path, chances are you'll be pounding your feet down on unforgiving concrete several thousands times whenever you go for a run. Over time, this wears on your bones and joints due to the force of slamming them into something hard with the full weight of your body.

The other problem with running on concrete is that it tends not to lay completely flat. Sidewalks often slant toward or away from the road, and this slant can cause you back problems over time due to one leg usually being higher than the other.

You might be able to reduce the strain caused by the impact slightly if you invest in some good, quality running shoes. Still, you won't remove the impact entirely, and there's nothing you can do to correct a slanted or uneven concrete path.

Of course, you don't have to deal with any of these problems if you use an elliptical bike. Your running surface is always flat and even, meaning there's no risk of long-term injury from imbalanced running. Impacts are also taken care of, since your feet never leave the pedals of the machine. Best of all, you're still on a bicycle, so you don't have to run as hard or as fast to get where you need to go. This makes it easy to start things off slowly.

Training More Muscles Means Less Strain On Joints

If you suffer from chronic back, knee, or ankle pain, the problem could be that you haven't exercised the right muscles yet. Strong muscles act as a support system for bones and joints, reducing the strain they have to bear directly. Some muscles, however, are hard to work out without the right equipment.

Elliptical machines offer you the ability to exercise a wide range of muscles, since you can pedal by running forward or backward, and each direction offers training for different muscles. All in all, an elliptical can strengthen virtually all of the muscles in your legs, which helps to support bad knees and ankles. You can also build up your abdominal muscles to better support your back and stabilize your hips by toughening up your gluteus maximus.

Elliptical bikes can help you maintain mobility, even when your joints are weak or painful. If you're undergoing physical therapy or you have chronic joint problems, talk to your doctor or a foot and ankle specialist about whether or not an elliptical bike could help you stay healthy. With any luck, you'll be zipping around town in no time.