This is a common question that many have since a recent spurt in interest in cycling over the past couple years since covid seemed to encourage many to turn to cycling as a form of fitness and well being.
This question is interesting because it has multiple layers to it- in my opinion.
If the primary concern is injury to the knees, or lower limb- it’s a very difficult question to answer.
The general consensus many have of cycling is that it is a relatively simple, easy and accessible form of exercise and physical activity for the general public. And because of that, therefore we shouldn’t have much risk for injury.
But the reality is, this question requires a lot more thinking and reflection.
Overuse usually implies “overload.” Overload is a term physios and exercise professionals describe as, pushing the body, or a specific set of joints/muscle(s) beyond their physiological capacity.
But load is made up of many factors such as :
- Intensity (rate of exertion)
- Frequency (in this example, cycling)
- Type (mountain biking maybe? Road?)
- The environment (hills, flat road, temperature, weather)
- Internal factors (your sleep, your own capacity, nutrition, diet, genetic makeup, etc)
- Personal experience, mental factors, etc
So when you consider “overuse”, ask yourself if you’re asking whether you’re overloading your system. And that will help you further identify what exactly your concerns are. Do you think you’re doing too much too soon? Or has it been a long time since you’ve done any cycling?
Maybe you’re battling previous injuries. Regardless, make sure you speak to your healthcare practitioner and set yourself up for success as you learn how to best manage your goals and personal fitness journey.