Retirees face a litany of unique challenges including staying in shape, keeping mobile, maintaining social connections and much more. While these issues could hinder someone of any age, the older we get, the more trying they can be: injuries from years ago flare up, tired bones creak and worn down joints get weary.
But, like most challenges, this makes for an exciting opportunity. There is a solution that will not only help you to stay healthy and mobile, but, will also let you reconnect with the world around you.
So what’s the best way to stay in shape after 60? You’ll be pleased to hear it isn’t some new fad or craze. Rather, it’s a beloved invention that’s been going strong for nearly 200 years: the bicycle.
Let’s talk about why bikes and retirees are a match made in heaven.
Older adults are more active than ever. At the same time, there’s no denying the simple truth that exercising gets harder with age.
Some of us have injuries from the past. Others suffer from high blood pressure or arthritis. These issues can make certain activities riskier, the older we get. There’s a reason, after all, you don’t see a ton of 70 year olds playing football or lacrosse!
With this in mind, there are two things seniors should look for when choosing their physical activities: they should be low impact, and they should be aerobic.
Aerobic exercises, also known as “cardio,” are routines that get your heart pumping quicker, which increases the calories you burn and the muscles you build, all while helping to stave off heart disease.
Low impact, as you might imagine, means the exercise does not have a lot of impact on your body, especially the parts that are particularly injury prone. So, you’re not banging your knees against hard pavement over and over again, or getting tackled by an opposing team.
A great example of a sport that is both low impact and aerobic is swimming. It gets your heart rate way up, as your arms and legs cut through the resistance of the water. It also has almost zero impact on your joints.
Unfortunately, most people don’t have frequent access to a pool. But what are some things that practically every person of any age can access? Streets, roads, paths and trails!
Bicycling raises your heart rate because it’s a sustained activity that gives your muscles and organs time to get working. It’s also low impact, as your legs are simply slowly spinning in concentric circles, never hitting the ground. This is why trusted organizations like the AARP recommend riding a bike to their members.
While biking may sound a bit scary to those that haven’t ridden in a while, it’s a very quick activity to pick back up. After all, who hasn’t heard the expression, “it’s like riding a bike,” to refer to a skill that once learned is never truly forgotten?
The various gears on a bike mean you only need to pedal as quickly as you feel is comfortable, while even more modern conveniences like electric bicycles allow riders to augment any trip with the smooth assist of electricity.
If there’s one thing you can say about baby boomers, it’s that they adore their independence. As we all know, a large part of staying independent is staying mobile.
Mobility gives you the freedom to explore your world. It allows you to see your friends and loved ones more frequently. In fact, if you are mobile, you have unfettered access to just about any place that strikes your fancy.
As we age, many of us decide to drive less often – of even give up our cars altogether. You might not be as comfortable driving your car, especially at night. Or, you might be worried about the way that gas, repairs and insurance are eating away at your fixed income. You may simply want to protect the environment for your grandkids. Whatever the reasons, there are plenty of reasons to drive less and bike more.
For starters, riding a bicycle gets you to your destination about three to four times faster than walking. Experienced bikers regularly hit 20 miles per hour, which can beat even car drivers sitting in rush hour traffic.
If you add in the fact that you won’t have to fight for a parking spot or worry about refueling, biking has many advantages.
As the team as Sixty and Me has talked about many times, staying social is one of the keys to healthy aging. Most of us want to spend more time with our kids and grandkids. Almost all of us want to feel like we are a part of the communities that we live in.
At our bicycle company, we’ve found that few things bring people together quite like a fun outing on a bicycle. The beauty of the natural environment surrounds you. The sights and smells of the great outdoors are complemented by the rush of endorphins you feel as you cruise down your favorite road with those closest to you. You can pick a trail and lead your family to an amazing destination, or sit back a bit and let your grandkids race ahead of you.
Best of all, riding isn’t just for families. It can also give old friends something new to do together. Whether you’re headed to a scenic destination or your favorite event around town, going somewhere on a bicycle really helps to bring friends together.
The best part about biking is that, no matter your size, shape, age or ability level, there is sure to be a perfect bike for you. If you’re just thinking about getting your feet wet, you may want to give a less expensive bike from a big name sporting goods store a try.
For those who really want to make an investment, head to your local bike shop and chat with the experts about their favorite rides. Or you could even buy a bike online.
The sooner you find yourself on a bicycle, the sooner you can start unlocking all of its great benefits: having fun, losing weight, building muscle and staying fit. With that in mind, we’ll see you on the trail!
Do you love biking? Do you agree that biking can be one of the best ways to stay healthy at any age? Why or why not? Please join the conversation.
Jonah is the Community Advisor at EVELO Electric Bicycles. Jonah is passionate about people, transportation, cities, and writing about the data that connects those disparate worlds. Thinking about an electric bike? Try one risk-free with EVELO’s “Love at First Ride” guarantee.
Tags Fitness Over 60