Benefits of Cycling For Seniors
As we age, it’s normal for muscles and joints to ache a bit more than they used to, and this can discourage some people from getting the amount of exercise they need to stay healthy. Choosing a low impact activity that gives you great benefits doesn’t have to be plain old walking or water aerobics- or doing something in the gym- why not pick up cycling?
Cycling is great exercise for people of all ages, and it has extra benefits for those over 50.
Cycling benefits include:
- Great aerobic exercise– cycling increases your heart rate and helps improve your breathing.
- Low impact- like other low impact workouts, outdoor cycling helps keep your joints and muscles working without the same sort of pounding shock you can get from running or jogging- and you move faster than running as well!
- Outdoor riding gives you a good dose of Vitamin D! Vitamin D, which our skin manufactures when exposed to sunlight, is critical for bone and joint health. While you should always use sunscreen- even 10 – 15 minutes exposure a few times a week can increase your vitamin D levels!
- Regular cycling keeps you physically young. Regular outdoor cycling can prevent the natural loss of muscle mass and strength that’s common as we age. In addition, regular cycling has shown a positive effect on your immune system as well, keeping it working like that of younger people. There are estimates that regular cycling can reduce your risk of death from all causes by up to 40%, including cancer and heart disease.
- Cycling promotes balance. The World Health Organization estimates that between 28-25% of people over age 65 suffer from falls each year. Cycling is an ideal exercise that helps improve balance and keep your muscles and joints working properly. Cycling can also help improve your posture and coordination, helping with balance as well.
- Cycling with a group supports mental health and combats depression. Let’s face it- hopping on a bike is just fun- and it’s more fun with friends. Cycling groups at Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands regularly ride together, either on campus, or on local protected trails. The group at Kendal at Longwood regularly takes longer rides, up to 20 miles, broken down into 2 parts, with a great lunch in the middle making it a great time to spend with friends, while staying fit and active.
Cycling and Staying Safe
Cycling is a great activity but it’s important to stay safe as well. Our residents are careful to wear helmets and keep their bikes in good condition- often helping each other to make sure the bikes are working well.
If you’re considering taking up cycling as a new pass time or revisiting it after some time has passed, here’s what to look for in a bike:
- Contoured Saddle- a variety of saddles are available for bikes these days including contoured ones for both men and women, to help make longer rides more comfortable and reduce shock. Click here to see how to Choose a good bike seat
- Seat Adjustment- make sure you have a seat that allows you to reduce pressure on your back
- Adjustable handlebars- the handlebars should be high enough to be comfortable and easy to grip at any speed.
- Shock absorbers- a variety of bikes,especially trail bikes come with shock absorbers which still give you a decent feel for the road but buffers the bumps to give you greater comfort.
- Tires- Residents here at Kendal-Crosslands ride a wide variety of bikes, from thin tired ten speed bikes built for speed and racing, to trail bikes with wider tires and more cushioning. The wider tires often have treads that are particularly good for wet or muddy weather.
- Weight- Bikes come in many weights, A lighter bike with good handling might be better for hillier rides, and some people are choosing heavier e-bikes that come with power- assist- helping to make hills easier to negotiate as you build up your strength and endurance.
There are many good bike shops in the area that can help you try out a few bikes and see what may be best for you. Used bikes are also readily available, but we would recommend getting a used bike checked out for safety and a good tune up at a local bike shop as a good safety precaution.
Cycling At Kendal-Crosslands Communities
The groups here at Kendal-Crosslands Communities cycle regularly, around campus and on bike trails in the area. The Kendal at Longwood group which takes weekly longer rides of up to 20 miles has several members who are in their early 90s! Some of our residents have even taken long bike trips across the Country, It’s clear that they all are reaping the benefits of this activity, staying healthy, maintaining balance, and most of all, having fun doing something they love!
Cycling is just one of the over 150 committees and groups that residents from all four of our campuses- Kendal at Longwood, Crosslands, Consiton and Cartmel participate in, a retirement rooted in simplicity and blooming with possibilities.
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