By Jackie Smee
Regular exercise is vital to staying healthy as you age. Physical activity has been proven to improve seniors’ quality of life in more ways than one, and cycling is ideal for older adults who are looking for a great low-impact workout. Cycling doesn’t just improve seniors’ physical health, but has all-around benefits that can greatly improve life. Here are some of the benefits of cycling.
Improves Joint Health
When done regularly, cycling can improve your joints. Unlike many other exercises, riding a bike keeps your knee, hip, and ankle joints in motion without stressing them out. This continuous motion strengthens your joints, and after just a few weeks of regular bike sessions, you’ll be able to feel the benefits of stronger joints.
Decreases The Chance Of Developing A Disability
Our bodies change drastically as we age. Our immune system declines in function and cell damage builds up, which is why older adults are more likely to develop disabilities. But seniors who regularly exercise are 18% less likely to develop physical disabilities. Generally, older adults who exercise are more likely to be able to walk without assistance for much longer than sedentary elders. That’s more than enough reason to hop on a bike.
Boosts Brain Functions
Apart from strengthening our bodies, exercise can also strengthen our minds. According to multiple studies, seniors need 52 hours of exercise over 6 months to keep their minds sharp. Findings show that exercise can help preserve the health of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in forming and keeping memories. In other words, exercise can keep memories intact for longer, and may even deter dementia.
It Helps Maintain Weight
Cycling can burn around 300 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of your exercise. Regular exercise can boost your metabolism, so you’ll be burning calories even at rest. Obesity has been linked to different kinds of cancer, so cycling can prevent some common forms of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.
Connects You To Community
Though not necessarily a group activity, taking up the sport is an easy way to connect to fellow bicyclists. Cycling can form social connections and strengthen existing ones. And because being connected with a community can increase your life span, cycling in a group isn’t just good for the exercise.
Regular exercise doesn’t just improve physical health. It also helps one relax while boosting self-esteem. Cycling is a great feel-good exercise that increases the levels of “happy hormones” like dopamine and serotonin. Even physically fit seniors should make it a point to exercise regularly. Because muscle loss is a common problem for older adults, seniors need frequent activity to maintain their physical health keep depression at bay.
You can start cycling at any age. Taking up cycling may prove to be quite a challenge initially, but take it easy. You can begin by just exercising for 10-15 minutes, then slowly work your way up. Remember to stretch, and listen to your body. Try to get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Photo by Adam Dubec on Pexels.
After taking a career sabbatical to become a mother, Jackie Smee now writes and researches full time on anything to do with health, wellness and exercise. She has, in the past battled problems with anxiety and panic, and in her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support people with mental health issues. Follow her biking guides here: https://bikesreviewed.com