Bike riding for seniors can be a controversial issue in eyes of many experts. As we age the bones and the body structures become weak so we are exposed to several injuries the number of experts doesn’t recommend physical activities which can cause injuries and fractures. The fear of injuries can’t fade away the benefits of bike riding for seniors.
Injuries occur due to the inexperience of the rider and not because of exercise itself. It has been proven in many studies conducted in the United States that cycling can be so healthy for seniors in many aspects. In this, we will explore the 7 benefits of cycling for seniors.
A few years ago a surgeon Michael Yaremchuk who is chief of craniofacial surgery at MGH wrote an article about cycling injuries which reflected that cycling can be the root cause of many injuries in seniors but many cycling experts came in defense of cycling for seniors because it’s not cycling which brings injuries but it is inexperience and wrong technique of cyclist which cause a mishap.
Cycling can be a great mental health booster
Cycling is a great way to increase hormones responsible to bring the feel of happiness like phenylethylamine, serotonin, and dopamine. It can reduce anxiety attacks and depression from seniors. There is a pilot study that researched on effects of bicycling among older adults. In this study, researchers found that participants felt great health and fitness after including cycling in their exercise routine.
Cycling can be a great way to socialize with others which helps to relax and builds confidence. It is evident that with declining age we can face mental health issues even if we never faced them previously in our life. When a senior will ride a bike he will expose to more sunlight which will improve vitamin D levels. Vitamin D has characteristics of improving mood swings and reducing stress levels. Cycling also impacts the sleep pattern of riders and improves the quantity and quality of sleep.
Cycling keeps weight under control
Cycling is a metabolism booster exercise and it helps to burn calories at a rapid pace. On average we can burn up to 300 calories per hour by cycling. If a person is having a hard time maintaining his weight under control then cycling can be a good starter workout to bring the body in shape. If someone has fear of injury from traditional biking they can use stationary bikes too on which you don’t have to worry about balancing the weight. In one of the posts on our blog, we have discussed how stationary bikes can help you to get rid of belly fat.
Improve your immune system
The production of t cells becomes low as we get older and the immune system becomes weak. T cells are very vital to fight diseases. Cycling can help to reduce the effects of aging and boosts your immune system. There is a study that has examined 125 adult bicyclers having ages between 55 to 79.
Then they made a health comparison of these cyclists with other adults. The results were in favor of the cyclist group when it came to the production of t cells. These cyclists had more testosterone and a stable level of body fat. Cycling can help to cleanse your lungs from bacteria due to more intake of fresh air. It increases your body temperature which helps to fight bacteria and infections.
Cycling improves your cardiovascular health
Cycling brings down the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases by 40%. It can increase your stamina and lower your blood pressure. Lower blood pressure becomes possible due to less stress on your heart. It prevents arteries from becoming clogged, which causes less blood circulation throughout the body. Some of the other diseases which can be prevented by cycling are as follows
- Kidney diseases
- Low stamina
- Respiratory issues
- Muscles health
- Joint health
- Cholesterol levels
Social benefits of cycling for seniors
Seniors can be haunted by loneliness in later stages of life as social circles become depleted as they grow old. There is a study that reflects that loneness can be associated with higher rates of mortality. Here comes cycling which can help to fight loneliness as we can cycle in groups too. There are senior cycling groups and clubs which you can join in your area. You can make new friends by joining different clubs and groups.
Cycling saves you money
We have discussed the health benefits of cycling briefly but it can help you in managing finances too. It is better to ride a bike than to spend on fuel for can and bus tickets. You can monitor your monthly transport expense to see how much you have saved after using the bike.
At what age should you stop riding a bike?
It highly depends on your physical and mental health. There can be few local laws and age limits too which can prevent you from cycling at a certain age. On average most of the cyclists will stop riding between 60 to 85 but it highly depends on the passion of the cyclist too.
Is cycling dangerous for seniors?
Cycling can be dangerous for seniors if the riding technique is not good and the gear of riders is not complete. Always were biking gear and a helmet before cycling. Here are a few recommendations for a safe cycling ride
- Wear a helmet
- Use biking gloves
- Cycle on safe trails
- Use a stationary bike if you can’t balance
- Ride in groups to take help from others
- Don’t cycle at high speeds
- Never ride if you don’t feel safe
in a nutshell, there are a lot of Benefits Of Bike Riding For Seniors and it highly depends on the rider to ensure ride safety measures.