13Oct

All kinds or reports show that staying active in old age is important, so a lot more people are looking for ways to take more exercise as they age. They are doing this in lots of different ways.

Walking and bowling are particularly popular. Many older people choose these modes of exercise because they are low impact. They can both be done at a pace that suits older people, especially those who are only just starting to get active.

They are both great ways to get active, surprisingly, so is cycling. In fact, riding a bike as you age comes with a long list of other benefits. Here are just a few of the ways cycling benefits the elderly.

Happy senior couple cycling in the park. Healthy lifestyle.

Senior couple cycling in the park.

Low impact exercise

The first reason cycling is so good for the elderly is that it is actually a low impact exercise. When you cycle, the movement is smooth and regular. This action does not stress or jar the joints.

You do not have to be very strong to be able to enjoy cycling. Using trikes makes it easy for anyone to get started with cycling. Trikes allow people to gradually build up strength and get used to the movement of pedalling without worrying about balance.

Safe cardiovascular exercise

Cycling for four miles a day has been shown to be particularly good for cardiac health.

Great for balance

Studies show that older cyclists are stronger than those who do not take any exercise. They also have better balance, which can be very important because the elderly are more prone to trips and falls.

Good for mental agility

Cycling is also potentially good for mental health. Any exercise that gets the blood pumping improves oxygen flow to the organs, including the brain. Increased blood flow allows nutrients to be carried to the brain and helps more toxins and waste products to be carried away and disposed of by the body.

It also helps the adrenal system to work efficiently. The brain relies heavily on the adrenal system to produce the hormones and nutrients it needs to function properly.

Cycling is also mentally challenging. Even with GPS, your mind is working to help you to find your way. In addition, your mind is taking in your surroundings and constantly analysing and re-assessing the situation.

Improved independence

Perhaps the biggest advantage of cycling is the fact that it helps you to keep your independence. It is much easier than driving. Many people who no longer have the confidence to drive discover that they can still cope with riding a bike because the journey is slow enough for them to take in and cope with the journey.

Getting started

If you have not cycled for a while start cycling with the help of a friend and do so in a place where there is little traffic. Buy a comfortable saddle and safety equipment from a bike shop. You need to be comfortable when riding.

In some areas, you will be able to get access to specialist cycles like trikes or side-by-side tandems. Usually these are available in large parks or other open areas. Starting out this way is a great way to start cycling again and work out if it is a good exercise option for you.

  

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