Why your golden years is the perfect time to start riding a bike
Everyone knows frequent exercise is good for you. Mental health improves from the release of endorphins and serotonin, and other benefits include an increase in joint mobility, muscle build, and overall physical health. Exercise like riding a bike can help prevent major health conditions from developing or worsening. Bike riding can be high-intensity interval training or you can slow it down and go at your own pace. Simply taking the time each week to go for a bike ride can dramatically improve your golden years.
Mental health improvement
Bike riding on trails through hills or along sidewalks through cities can stimulate the brain and improve memory and alertness. More oxygen and nutrients are pushed through the brain when you ride a bike which helps create new brain cells. This positively impacts your memory.
The benefit of accompanying exercise with the outdoors is the release of serotonin and endorphins. Serotonin is an essential hormone for happiness, mood, and sleep, while endorphins help reduce stress and pain. A study in the Circulation journal demonstrated that regular exercise benefits those with coronary heart disease by decreasing their sense of hopelessness.
Joint mobility and balance
While walking can be tedious, choosing to ride a bike instead can help change your routine. The seat on the bike will support your weight, so it is a low-impact exercise. According to MD Anderson Cancer Prevention Center, anyone who has arthritis, back pain, or damaged joints may benefit from riding a bike.
Bike riding requires you to be aware of your movements and the position of your body. This is also known as proprioception, which is important for balance. Proprioception will decline if it is not maintained or improved; thus, bike riding helps prevent this decline.
When you keep your joints mobile by using your lower body on a bike and combine that with an increase in your ability to balance, you can help reduce the risk of falls in everyday activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 36 million seniors fall each year, and about 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling. If you can take time each week to go for a short bike ride, you may lower your chances of falling.
Other physical benefits
Bike riding is an aerobic workout meaning it is a steady-state exercise where you use the oxygen you take in for energy. Oxygen intake helps your heart, brain, and blood vessels. YMCA’s study states that those who ride bikes push their cardiovascular systems, preventing deterioration due to inactivity. Heart rate is also increased during this activity and will strengthen your heart muscle. In turn, this helps manage weight and keeps your blood pressure lower.
According to Harvard Health, as you push the pedals, you pull on the muscles that move your bones, and this system increases bone density. This can also relate to joint mobility and balance as you engage and build more muscles to help keep you upright on a bike.
Calories burned during exercise help you stay lean and can prevent obesity and other health conditions.
Bike riding can drastically improve your overall health in your golden years. Any exercise is beneficial in multiple ways, but bike riding helps stimulate both the upper and lower body by gaining muscle, joint mobility, and balance. Not only will your physical shape improve, but your mental alertness, mood, and memory are enhanced as well. If there is a time to start riding a bike, your golden years are it.