Biking for Elderly People – Is it a Good Idea?

An elderly person on a bike

Something that I passionately believe is that everyone can benefit from biking. As long as you can physically pedal a bike – even at a slow speed – there’s no reason why you can’t improve over time. But how do you get started if you think you’re too old to cycle? And how can you get the most out of cycling? That’s what this article is all about.

There’s no doubt that getting older brings with it increased stiffness and pain. These are often seen as a reason to avoid exercise – but in some cases this can make things worse. I’m no doctor, but I think that once you stop using your muscles is when they really start to decondition.

Of course, you shouldn’t be doing high impact activities as an elderly person – which is why cycling is a great alternative. The important thing is to accept your limitations and work within them. You’re never going to compete with younger riders – and you shouldn’t try. Instead, aim to get the most YOU can get out of cycling.

1. Visit a Doctor Before You Start

You’re probably sick of being told to visit your doctor before starting an exercise program, but it’s really important to do so. Ask them to assess your physical condition, with particular focus on niggling injuries or areas of pain. Yes, you might get the bad news that you need physiotherapy or even surgery, but it’s better to know than to ignore it and make things worse.

2. Start with a Stationary Bike

When most people think of cycling, they imagine gliding down country lanes or through dense woodland. Outdoor cycling is always going to be more fun, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore stationary bikes. These machines are a great way to safely improve your cycling stamina from the comfort of your own home. Recumbent bikes are particularly good for elderly people, as they take a lot of pressure off the back. If you’re not sure which to buy, check out this list of the best exercise bikes for elderly people.

On a side note, don’t focus entirely on cycling. Mix in some walking and swimming as low-impact alternatives.

3. Choose an Appropriate Outdoor Bike

If you’re using a bike you bought when you were younger, be honest with yourself: is it really the right choice today?

The key is to go for comfort over form. Sure, a road bike that allows you to get into a crouch is great for aerodynamics, but are you likely to be needing this option on a regular basis? Instead, look for a bike that you can cycle on comfortably and without aggravating your joints.

4. Stay Supple

Staying supply is more difficult as you get older, but a good stretching program can still make a difference. It’s especially important to stretch before and after a cycling session to avoid injuries. Speak to your doctor about whether he or she can provide you with a program that keeps you supple yet is suitable for your aches and injuries. This site also has a stretching program for elderly people.

Summary

Cycling has a number of incredible benefits – and they aren’t just accessible to young people. Elderly people can benefit from the physical and mental advantages of cycling, but it’s important to be realistic and safe in your approach.

 

 

 

 

Should You Use an Exercise Bike to Train?

One of the most common questions we get is how to train during the winter. Being from the UK, we’re more than used to training in cold conditions! That doesn’t mean you should ignore an exercise bike though. Here are 3 reasons why exercise bikes can be a great way to train.

There are a lot of cyclists who look down on exercise bikes – and they’ve got a point. What’s cycling without the sense of thrill and speed?

The problem is that limiting yourself to only training outdoors is likely to hurt your progress in the long run. There are several benefits to an exercise or stationary bike that you can’t get from road cycling. Here are three of the most important.

1. Train During the Winter

Training in wet or icy weather is always going to be riskier than during the summer. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it – but at least pick your days.

On your off days, one of the best ways to train is to get an indoor cycle. Make sure you buy one with a heavy flywheel for more intense training though.

2. More Reliable Indicators of Progress

When you’re training on an exercise bike, you know exactly how far you’ve gone and how quickly. This isn’t always the case with road training, as you could be held up by traffic lights, queues or anything else.

As an added bonus, some of the newer exercise bikes come with software to take part in online races. This is a great way of pushing yourself in a fun and safe environment.

3. Great for Recovery

Stationary bikes are great for recovering from an injury. You’re in complete control of the resistance level, and you don’t need to worry about uneven surfaces or cars that require evasive maneuvers!

In fact, athletes regularly use exercise bikes to maintain their fitness while recovering from injuries. So if you’re working your way back from a sprain or strain but don’t feel ready for outdoor cycling, an indoor cycle could be a good choice.

Of course, there are some big drawbacks too. Nothing prepares you for racing like outdoor cycling. You need to battle wind resistance, uneven roads and (unfortunately) drivers – all of which you’re likely to face during a race.

Don’t ignore indoor cycling for training though. It’s a great way to train in safety when you’re recovering from injury or in bad weather conditions.

Do you use an indoor bike as part of your training routine? Or are you purely an outdoor cyclist? Let us know!