Cycling Over The Age Of 60 Has Some Remarkable Benefits
Learning to ride a bike as a child can be an experience filled with excitement and its fair share of abrasions – but once the art of bicycle riding is mastered it stays with you for the rest of your life. And those older than 60 may want to revisit the thrills of that first unassisted bike ride. Not only is it a great way to enjoy a wonderful day out – but also has a variety of incredible benefits as far as mental acuity and health are concerned.
As we age our mental acuity can diminish. Cycling helps to balance both mind and body. For one thing, it takes us outdoors into the fresh air – which does act as a tonic. It allows one to see and hear new things – and that helps to stave off depression and anxiety. The sensory input also helps us to stay sharp. A bike ride helps us with cognition. And it also provides us with Vitamin D. Sunlight helps our bodies produce this vitamin which staves off depression and is a fabulous pick me up when it comes to health – and simple joy in our surroundings is vital for a balanced lifestyle.
Cycling can also have benefits when it comes to enjoying a great night’s rest. A bike ride not only provides an opportunity to exercise, but it also helps us to fall asleep at night, a task that many seniors can find challenging.
Scheduling a weekly or daily bike ride also allows us to enjoy control. It provides structure to our lives and a purpose. That sense of control can help to stave off anxiety and depression. However, it takes discipline to keep up with that schedule. Research has shown that the positive effects on mental and physical health from bike riding only start to manifest themselves after a couple of months – so keeping to that schedule is incredibly important.
Cycling also helps us fight back against infection. The thymus gland is responsible for producing T-cells which are responsible for immunity. Unfortunately, that thymus starts to shrink after the age of 20 – and our immune systems pay the price. Seniors who cycle regularly have a much more active thymus – and it also helps with lung function. That adds up to better health.
Of course, we also lose muscle mass as we get older (bone density as well). Cycling can help us build muscle mass and it also strengthens the bones. In short, cycling can help us feel and look younger. Studies have also shown that seniors who cycle regularly tend to live longer, fuller lives than those who do not. It has also been shown to reduce the incidence of cancer and heart disease, as well as assist in maintaining joint health.
In a nutshell, cycling helps with both mental and physical health. And if a senior can convince others to join them then there is also the added bonus of social interaction. There simply is no downside to getting on a bike.