Even if you haven’t ridden a bicycle since you were a child, it is not too late to reap the benefits that cycling can have on your health in your retirement years. In fact, more and more older adults are choosing biking as their preferred method of physical activity, and for a good reason!
At Uplands Village, our retirement living community is on 500 acres that offer endless connected biking trails that are ready to be discovered. May is National Bike Month, so we want to share some of the many benefits of biking and how you can pedal your way into a healthier lifestyle.
Please consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new activity or exercise routine to ensure it is safe for you to do so.
Why Biking is Good for You
#1 Low-Impact Exercise
One of the best benefits of biking is that it is a great way to get your heart pumping without putting excess stress on your joints. Many aerobic exercises like running can put strain on your knees and ankles, causing pain and leading to additional concerns such as arthritis. Biking, on the other hand, not only protects your joints but can actually help alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
The smooth, full range of motion of riding a bike encourages the production of synovial fluid, the substance found in the joint that provides lubrication and prevents friction. In addition to an increased amount of synovial fluid, keeping your joints moving can relieve pressure and stiffness.
#2 Improve Balance
Balance is an important part of daily life, especially for aging individuals. Another one of the many benefits of biking is that it can help you maintain or improve your balance and sense of equilibrium. One study found that biking can help improve balance and serve as a potential fall prevention strategy for aging individuals.
If, however, you do not feel fully comfortable with your balance, try a stationary bike first.
#3 Better Heart Health
Riding a bike is considered a cardiovascular exercise, which can help to improve your heart health. In simple terms, when you are performing any aerobic activity, your body needs more oxygen to keep you going, making your heart pump faster to get the oxygen to the cells throughout your body so they can release more energy.
Over time, this type of exercise strengthens your heart and decreases your risk for heart disease and conditions like a heart attack or stroke.
#4 Preserve Strength
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade.”
An inactive lifestyle only accelerates this process, but biking and other healthy lifestyle choices can help you preserve and maintain your strength. Biking is a whole-body workout and does not only focus on the legs as many people think. Over time, you may notice increased strength in your arms, core, and legs.
#5 Delay the Onset or Progression of Dementia
Keeping the mind active and engaged is critical to healthy aging. Physical activity, including biking, is one way to stimulate brain activity and keep your mind sharp.
A study found that exercise reduced the levels of tau, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, in the brains of individuals. Additionally, the individuals who exercised “had better blood flow in the memory and processing centers of their brains and had measurable improvement in attention, planning, and organizing abilities referred to as executive function.”
Biking Opportunities at Uplands Village
Our retirement living community in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, features connected biking trails throughout our 500-acre campus. Qualified as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation, our campus serves as a haven for birds, butterflies, bees, and other beautiful animals so they can get the vital resources they need to survive and thrive.
With this being said, residents of Uplands Village enjoy exploring the wildlife, the tree-lined neighborhoods, and the natural setting on the Cumberland Plateau, all while benefitting from a low-impact, leisurely bike ride.
If you would like to learn more about our community, care services, and all of the amenities that we have to offer, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of the Uplands Village team today!