In general, any exercise is good exercise! Staying active, in ways big or small, can have a positive impact on your physical, mental, and even financial well-being. Bicycling falls right into that category, offering you many benefits in various aspects of your life.
As with any activity, it’s important to check with your doctor that your body is healthy enough to begin cycling. Your doctor will also help determine how often you can bike and just how far you can go.
The Benefits of Bicycling
Believe it or not, bicycling is great exercise for seniors who experience arthritis issues in their feet or ankles. It’s a preferred form of exercise to other aerobic activities because it avoids high-impact pounding on the ground while still providing cardiovascular benefits.
Biking is preferred to other aerobic activities because it avoids high-impact pounding on the ground while still providing cardiovascular benefits.
If you can build up to biking longer distances — whether it be to the market down the street, to a friend’s house, or to your volunteer duties — you can save on gas and car maintenance, as well as doctors’ bills! A study found that bicyclists ages 55 to 79 saw a slower decline in muscle mass compared to healthy adults who don’t exercise regularly. The cyclists also saw improved cholesterol, consistent body fat numbers, and stable testosterone levels (men).
Simply put, riding bike can slow aging and help you live longer!
Beginning anything new can be tough, but biking doesn’t have to be a rigorous or stressful activity. It’s important to remember that you’re starting something new in hopes of improving your health or finding an enjoyable way to spend some time during the day. So, whether you’re using a stationary bike or hopping on a 10-speed, keep it light at first and remember to have fun.
Whether you’re using a stationary bike or hopping on a 10-speed, keep it light at first and remember to have fun.
To get yourself acquainted, consider starting out with 10-minute sessions a couple times a week. Eventually, you can work up to biking 30 to 40 minutes about three times a week, if that’s your goal, and if it’s safe based on your doctor’s recommendation.
Making biking a leisurely practice, instead of a chore, is key to getting the most out of it. Set tangible goals while cycling, so you don’t put any unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Before you begin riding around, get to know your bike. Understand where your brakes are, what the various speed settings do, and how to navigate turns and stops. These actions are imperative before you head out on the road. They should help you stay safe.
Knowing the layout of your bike is essential before you head out on the road.
Speaking of the road and safety — while you’re riding, wear a helmet! It’s an inexpensive way to protect your brain, to make you more visible to other drivers on the road, and to protect your face from the weather. The best way to remember to always wear a helmet is to keep it and your bike in the same place.
Lastly, being safe means being aware of your surroundings, which means listening to music while biking should be avoided, as well as any other distractions. In general, it’s best to treat riding a bike like driving a car.
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Cycling is more than just a fun hobby — it’s a healthy hobby. If you want, it can also be a special activity when you can enjoy time to yourself and get out of the house for awhile. Just remember to bike safely. Enjoy your next adventure!