Revolution Cycle has been helping cyclists young and old for over 30 years! In 2019, they as Friends of WSAC members with our centre, they hosted a number of “E Bike Try It Days” here at our centre. It was a wonderful time because for many of us, we had not been on a bike in years!
Revolution Cycle recently shared this article with us from a website called Bikemunk, letting us know there was some good information here for our members!
Make sure to watch for our Try It Days again this spring AND watch for news on a Ladies Bike Group that Revolution Cycle will be hosting for the members of the Westend Seniors Activity Centre!
Cycling for Seniors: Complete Guide to Cycling and Ageing
t can get harder and harder to stay active as you age. Your bones and muscle structure decline the older you get, and you may have aches and pains that prevent you from having a strong desire to exercise.
Cycling is one of the best exercises for aging bodies, though. It helps you work your cardiovascular system and keep your heart healthy. Because cycling is a low-impact sport, it reduces strain on the joints. Many studies show that biking can actually slow down the aging process in a variety of ways.
Tips For Cycling Into Your Senior Years
As you get older, your mobility may be limited. Medical conditions such as arthritis can impair your ability to perform the same types of exercise as you used to. Cycling increases your heart rate but minimizes wear and tear on your body. Still, we have some tips for safeguarding your joints and staying safe while cycling.
Protect Your Knees
Form is important when you’re pedaling. Keeping your knees stable can help you gain more power in your pedal stroke and prevent them from aching when you’ve finished your ride.
If you look at yourself head-on as you ride, you should see a straight line from your shin to your thigh. When your knee rolls inward or pushes outward, the kneecap doesn’t glide smoothly. This could cause problems with your cartilage, especially if you’re already dealing with inflammation.
Keeping your seat farther back can also improve your knee mobility. Sitting too close to the handlebars changes the angle of your knees, potentially causing discomfort as you cycle.
Keep Your Bike In Good Shape
Are you still using the same bike that you used 40 years ago? Make sure that it’s in top condition when you ride. Having it examined and maintained by a professional will help prevent accidents from equipment malfunction.
You should also have an expert assess the bike’s fit. A bicycle that isn’t the right size for you can pose a safety issue and cause undue aches and pains.
If you are using an older bike, you might want to look into purchasing a newer model. Modern bicycles may be lighter and easier to maneuver than older, clunky ones.
You might also want to trade out the seat. A wider saddle will help you stay more comfortable and improve your balance.
Try An Electric Bike
If you need an added boost while you ride, consider using an electric bicycle. These bikes can propel you even if you don’t pedal, but that won’t give you the aerobic exercise that you’re going for. The best way to use an electric bike is to allow it to assist you as you push the pedals.
This can take some of the load off, especially if you’re fatigued. Electric bikes can also help you maneuver through obstacles, such as steep hills.
Ride With Friends
Although exercise is one way to help ward off age-related cognitive decline, so is socialization. Researchers are finding that social interactions can delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It also reduces the likelihood of social withdrawal, anxiety and depression. Socializing can even improve your self-confidence, which helps you experience a better quality of life as you age.
If you can’t talk your friends into riding with you, consider joining a bike club. You’ll meet new people and have more motivation to get out there.
Take It Easy
Don’t push yourself too hard while you’re cycling. Choose a route that’s not too strenuous, and don’t ignore the pain. You can improve your endurance and skill by listening to your body and gradually increasing your distance, effort and speed. Check with your doctor if you’re not sure whether cycling is safe for your health.
Dealing With Balance Concerns
If balance is an issue, consider taking a spinning class or riding a stationary bike in a gym, a fitness center or your own living room. Ask for help mounting and dismounting the bicycle if you need it. Once you’re on the bike, keep it at a level that allows you to pedal easily without having to shift your weight. You can also try activities like yoga to supplement your cycling. This will help with balance.
A recumbent bike or tricycle can also give you the cycling experience that you want without worrying about falling. Recumbent bikes take the load off of your rear end, your hands and your back. Tricycles give you stability so that you don’t have to be apprehensive about maintaining equilibrium.