It’s no secret that as you get older, taking regular exercise becomes harder but that’s no excuse to ditch the bike! Cycling is a simple, effective and enjoyable way to keep fit for adults of any age, not to mention the benefits it has on the economy and your finances.
Of course, if you haven’t been out riding for a while then it’s likely you’ll quickly feel out of puff and your thighs will ache before feeling like jelly, but the good news is that regardless of your current age, fitness levels or cycling competence, every outing on a bike is good for you.
Research shows that inactivity and obesity are as detrimental to your health as smoking, if not more so, and as you age, regular exercise and a balanced, healthy diet becomes increasingly important for a long life that’s free, as far as possible, from age-related illnesses like heart and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
But, aside from the reduced risk of developing these debilitating or fatal illnesses, there’s a number of other positive benefits that cycling can have on your day-to-day health and lifestyle within a matter of weeks:
- If you suffer from stiff, sore or arthritic joints then cycling, as a form of low-impact exercise second only to swimming, can help loosen them up to improve flexibility and reduce pain without placing any undue stress on them.
- Cycling for just one hour a week can significantly improve leg strength and balance and reduce the risk of falls commonly associated with ageing.
- Within just three months of taking regular bike rides, you could actually boost your brain function to enjoy the “sharper memory skills, higher concentration levels, more fluid thinking, and greater problem-solving” abilities of someone three years your junior!
- For those still in employment, if you cycle to work, you could save anything from £500 to well over £1000 per year in commuting costs and that includes the cost of buying a bike! For a detailed breakdown of the savings you could make, visit the online Cycle to Work Calculator.
- It’s a great calorie-burner! An 11-stone adult cycling for just 30 minutes at a reasonably light pace of 10mph could burn over 200 calories.
If you’re interested in further research about how cycling can positively affect the “independence, health and wellbeing” of older adults, keep an eye out for the results of a detailed British study conducted by CycleBoom which are due to be released this September.
The immediate and long-term advantages of cycling are clear, but the benefits and sheer pleasure that cycling provokes often relies on the quality of your bike and the location you ride in.
Dragging your bike out of the shed and dusting off the cobwebs before cycling to work during rush hour will be just as uncomfortable and dispiriting as purchasing a brand new, shiny hybrid bike and heading for the hills.
So, before you grab your old bike or invest in a new one, think about where you’d really like to go cycling and how you can fit bike rides into your lifestyle. Perhaps more importantly, think about why you really want to get pedalling at all.
What are your cycling goals? You might want to lead a greener lifestyle, improve your fitness levels, reduce transport costs or simply enjoy the two-wheeled freedom of the open road but be specific about what that means in practical daily terms.
Taking the grandkids for bike rides, doing your shopping, getting from A to B, practical goals that make it easier to get off the couch or out of the car and onto your bike as often as possible.
But, making cycling a meaningful, beneficial and fun part of your lifestyle means choosing a bike that matches your riding preferences, budget and size, and the choice can be overwhelming.
However, whether you prefer to browse the options in online cycle shops, or test them out in person, brand such as Bobbin bikes are ideal for cyclists plus many more. You can get free, expert advice and, if you’re in work, financial assistance to buy your bike or cycling accessories through the Cycle to Work scheme, from the friendly team at Formby Cycles.