Let’s get quickly to the short answer. Yes, biking is good for the elderly. It’s one of the best exercises for seniors.
U.S. seniors whose Medicare supplemental insurance includes access to the Silver Sneakers program turn to this fitness resource frequently for exercise recommendations. Included on the Silver Sneakers Best 9 activities list is cycling, says cardiologist Dr. Victoria Shin.
If you are a senior looking for a good, and comfortable bicycle read our comprehensive review guide.
She cites a 2017 study published in the “European Review of Aging and Physical Activity” that proves cycling is an awesome way to “improve cardiovascular health, metabolic health, and cognitive performance in adults older than 70.”
The U.S. National Library of Medicine agrees. Endurance (aerobic) activities like biking is listed on their website as one of the four most beneficial ways seniors can improve both their breathing and heart rates, whether the cyclist bikes indoors or outside.
According to “U.S. News and World Report,” there are auxiliary benefits, not every study mentions when recommending biking to seniors. These include, but aren’t limited to, improved “muscle mass, strength, bone density, agility, endurance, and balance.” You can read the whole thing here.
The balance component is particularly important since seniors tend to have fragile skeletal systems which put them at a higher risk of falling, breaking bones and becoming completely incapacitated. Cycle and you strengthen those bones.
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center physical therapist Douglas Ebner adds that “there’s a direct correlation between falling later in life and life expectancy. A 2017 study in the “Journal of Internal Medicine” found that one-third of adults over the age of 50 who fracture a hip die within 12 months of that injury.” For seniors, cycling could prove to be a lifesaver.
There’s more. Thanks to the sport of cycling, seniors can enjoy immune system boosts and biking may slow down their body’s aging process by saving up to 9 years as a result of reduced cellular deterioration according to several studies.
Further, cycling does more than deliver all of those gifts to senior bodies. Brains get a big boost too. Climb on your bike seat regularly and perks just keep coming. Vanquish depression. Sleep soundly. Fight cognitive degenerative diseases. And you thought cycling was just an opportunity to watch the leaves change on your favorite trail!
What can you do to make certain that your love of cycling does more than just make you feel good emotionally? Borrow the following 7 thoughtful tips offered by BikeMunk.com editors so you stay safe enough to keep riding into the future.
1. Protect your knees
2. Maintain your bike properly
3. Ride with friends
4. Don’t push too hard
5. Be extra cautious in traffic
6. Hydrate your body
7. Stay off the bike if you’re exhausted or weary.
We promise not to discourage you if you intend to take your passion for cycling to extremes by engaging in the National Senior Games Association cycling competitions where senior cycling is elevated to an art form.
Start training now if you’re serious about being part of the 2021 National Senior Games to be held in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida between November 5-18, 2021. While you’re conditioning, you may want to enlist a friend to join you. There’s nothing like a little competition between pals to motivate and inspire you to medal at any age!