Cycling is sometimes considered a form of exercise and enjoyment reserved only for children or the most avid of sporting enthusiasts.
However, when you peel back the surface of cycling, it’s a sport that is perfect for everyone, including people over the age of 60!
Everyone should get riding a bike, but there are many specific reasons why taking the time to get on a bike in later life is important.
Cycling is an ideal way to keep active
Throughout our lives, we are repeatedly told to keep active and exercise as much as possible. This can be challenging, both from a physical and logistical point of view, but especially as we age.
However, the benefits of cycling cannot under-estimated.
For starters, cycling is a form of exercise which is gentle on the body.
It is classed as a “low impact” form of exercise, due to the rotational movement involved. Unlike a lot of other sports, the low-impact nature of cycling dramatically lowers the risk of injury.
But remember, just because it is considered “low impact” does not mean it isn’t having a positive impact on the body.
Similar to running, or other more taxing forms of exercise, cycling works the cardiovascular system, which helps to keep the heart healthy for longer.
According to the NHS, regular cycling can help to combat the onset of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
Cycling in the great outdoors
Exercising in a gym is certainly beneficial but the advantage of a pedal bike is it gets you outside. Riding a bike is a great excuse to get up and enjoy the outdoors!
As an added boost to those looking to ride bikes, there has been an increase in cycle paths popping up all over the UK.
The rise in designated routes has also helped to reduce risk, as most are away from the road and specifically for cyclists!
Cycling in the great indoors
With more and more exercise bikes in gyms and in homes, cycling can be one of the few sports which is not weather dependent certainly a bonus in the UK!
An exercise bike is also a great way to start slowly, for example if you are recovering from illness or simply if you’ve not been active for a while and need to get back to a fitness routine. The setting for a static bike can be set for very low intensity at the outset and you can build up as you regain strength.
When you consider that the NHS recommends older adults should exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, there is even more incentive to get riding because cycling is an excellent way to work towards that target; whatever the weather.
Cycling is social
Along with the increase in cycle paths, there’s also been a rise in cycling groups and events nationwide too. There are groups for all ages, and abilities across the country.
It’s the perfect chance to meet new people, become part of a wider community, and get some exercise!
The mental health benefits of cycling
Cycling isn’t just good for physical health either. It is also possible to use a bike to support the journey out of depression, anxiety or high stress.
When you exercise on a bike, you increase serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine levels. All of these hormones help to make us feel happier, more alert, and relaxed. This is why it is important to get moving when you’re down, even though it may seem difficult to get motivated.
But you do not have to take our word for it, according to Better Health even half an hour each day can improve both our physical and mental health.
It is clear; there are so many benefits to taking up cycling in older age.
We are such fans of cycling that we held our own cycling event in May! We aimed to ride 1000 miles from our most southerly location - Millbrook Village in Devon, to our most northern - Gifford Lea, in Cheshire. And along the way, we raised money for the charity MIND!
Cycling is an activity that can be enjoyed alone or in a group. At Inspired Villages, we have a sharp focus on the overall well-being of our residents. As part of this, we host many events in our communities and encourage participation.
If you’d like to find out more about us, and what we can offer, get in touch today.
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We run events at our Inspired Villages all year around. Join our mailing list to get all of the updates on our future events.