Go Cycling – It Reaps Health BenefitsFitness
If you’re still on the lookout for the best exercise that suits your personality and lifestyle, consider bike riding. If you loved it as a child, it is even better as a senior. You can still go cycling. Not only does it improve your muscle strength and coordination, but it is beneficial for many people. It will help those seniors who are experiencing foot or knee problems as well as back pains and impact-related injuries.
Unlike running or walking, cycling is a low-impact activity so it’s easy on your bones and joints. Since bike riding is also a form of transport, it can practically take you anywhere without having to contribute to the carbon footprint in our environmentally-threatened planet. Not to mention how much you’ll be saving from gas bills. You should consider riding your bike everywhere.
So what can bicycling exactly do to your health?
1. Enhanced muscle strength and coordination
What’s great about bicycling is that it gets all your muscle groups involved. Yep, it’s not just the legs that solely do the work. You will begin to see your muscle tone improving, especially on your legs, hips, buttocks, thighs, and calves. Cycling actually gets every single part of your body involved. Being an aerobic sport, bicycling helps build your stamina.
As you cycle more regularly, one of the benefits is that as you become fit, it takes longer for you to become exhausted, both when you bicycle and also as you go about your daily routine. Additionally, this exercise also strengthens your coordination skills, specifically your arm-to-leg, eye-to-body, and feet-to-hands coordination.
2. Weight management
Bicycling pumps up your metabolic rate which is a good way to burn calories and shed off those extra pounds. In fact, steady biking allows you to burn around 300 calories per hour. Additionally, bike riding makes a great exercise for everyone since it doesn’t put too much stress on the joints.
Incorporating cycling into your daily exercise routine will make you feel better as well as help you manage your weight significantly.
3. Cardiovascular health
Studies suggest that cycling actually increases cardiovascular fitness by 3-7%. It strengthens your heart muscles while lowering your resting pulse and reducing blood fat levels; thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases including high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
The American College of Sports Medicine further suggests that leading a less sedentary lifestyle helps reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Another Danish study demonstrates that people aged 20 to 93 years old have found cycling to protect them from heart disease.
4. Stress reduction
It’s a known fact that regular exercise plays a role in reducing stress as well as boosting your confidence and well being. But just imagine cycling outdoors where you not only get to pump up your muscles but also, you get to reconnect with nature which revitalizes your body all the more.
5. Disease prevention and management
Bicycling gives your immune system an excellent boost thus your body is protected from many diseases including diabetes, bone injuries or arthritis, and certain cancers.
One study conducted in Finland demonstrated that people who cycled for over 30 minutes each day exhibited a lowered risk of developing diabetes by 40%. Since cycling helps improve your balance and coordination, it also reduces the risk of falls and fractures.
Ready to ride a bicycle?
Not quite yet. Before you even head out and hop on a bike, be sure to keep these safety tips in mind:
Safety Tips to Remember When You Go Cycling
Get your doctor’s OK. Make sure to consult your doctor whether cycling is something that you can pursue on a regular basis and incorporate into your fitness routine.
Slowly but surely. Don’t assume you can cycle like a pro when you haven’t ridden a bicycle in a long time, especially if this is your first time to go cycling in a while. Start slowly then you gradually increase your speed as you’re getting more confident and much better by the day.
Choose a bike that fits you. Not all bicycles are alike. Choose a bicycle which you feel fits you best.
Wear protective gear. Aside from the bike, also wear protective equipment such as a bicycle helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads.
Choose the perfect time for cycling. It is advisable to perform this exercise during the daytime; but if you can’t avoid it and you have to do it at night, make sure that you will be fully visible. Your bicycle must be fully equipped with bicycle headlights, rear lights, pedal reflectors, front, rear, and spoke reflectors, a rearview mirror, and a horn/bell.
Obey the traffic rules and road signs. Many cyclists think they don’t really need to take pay attention to traffic/road rules. But you need to obey the rules even more to ensure your safety. Simple rules like using hand signals before turning or riding in the direction of traffic flow could already save you from the risk of getting into accidents.
Always be present. Free yourself from any distraction while riding a bicycle. Be alert and watch out for debris on the road, car doors being quickly opened, or crossing vehicles.
Don’t drink and drive. This rule applies to cyclists too. Again, staying in the present is key to safe cycling; otherwise, driving while intoxicated could lead to road mishaps.
Remember, to go cycling is effective and doable for seniors, especially if you rode a bike as a youngster. Bicycling is not only for the young. However, never ignore safety tips to ensure a fun and healthy cycling experience.
Read more at the Guide For Seniors about how you can impact your health.