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Exercise to help you live longer and relieve knee pain

Exercise to help you live longer and relieve knee pain Screenshot
Author: Maria Kholina

Cyclists live longer, have stronger immune systems, and are less likely to experience knee pain or osteoarthritis than people who do not ride bicycles, according to NPR.

Exercise beneficial for health and longevity

Although previous studies have already shown several benefits of cycling, new research indicates that people who cycle regularly are significantly less likely to develop osteoarthritis by the age of 65.

In a study published last month in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2,600 people with an average age of 64 were surveyed about their lifelong exercise habits.

All participants had an increased risk of developing knee joint arthritis due to weight, genetics, or previous injuries. Researchers also took X-rays of the participants to assess arthritis in their joints.

The study is interesting because the scientists did not examine athletes - they simply looked at the habits of middle-class people.

"Bicyclers were 21% less likely to have X-ray evidence and symptoms of osteoarthritis compared to those who did not have a history of bicycling," said Dr. Grace Lo, the study's author and an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common form of arthritis, affecting more than 32.5 million Americans. Sometimes called "wear-and-tear" arthritis, it predominantly affects people over the age of 50 and occurs when the cartilage in a joint begins to break down, causing loss of function and pain.

"I was surprised to see how very strong the benefit was," said Dr. Lo.

Researchers point out that cycling is a low-impact activity, making it a very sustainable form of exercise for people throughout their lives.

When you cycle, the repetitive movements—pedaling around in circles again and again—also help circulate synovial joint fluid around the knee. The fluid acts as a lubricant, helping the joints work smoothly without friction.

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