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Why Bike Riding Helps Improve Mobility for Seniors

Older adults who hope to remain healthy and physically active should remember the old saying, use it or lose it! As with any other ability, mobility and agility improve upon practice. Lacking the limber joints and limitless energy of youth does not mean seniors should avoid physical activity. In fact, the right types of exercise can help relieve joint pain, build muscle, and restore youthful function.

Physical limitations and simple prudence should encourage older folks to choose a low-impact activity that they will enjoy and can take at their own pace. This explains the growing popularity of cycling with seniors. In fact, adults over 55 make up the fastest-growing demographic of registrants at cycling events.

And in turn, doctors find that older cyclists enjoy health comparable to people 10 years younger. The way cycling can help promote overall health and keep bodies strong and limber accounts for much of its renewed popularity.

Why Cycling Offers a Solution for Joint-Related Mobility Issues

The Arthritis Foundation calls bicycling one of the best exercises for people with arthritis. The pedaling motion moves the knee joint through a full range of motion. In turn, this action encourages the body to produce more lubricating fluid. Even better, this lubrication can last the rest of the day and not just while pedaling. This exercise also helps strengthen knee joints by building up the leg and joint muscles instead of wearing knees down, as high-impact activities do.

Also, this solution works at any pace, so there's no need to break a sweat. In turn, the pain-relief benefit encourages cyclists to return to their bikes regularly, and with all exercise, consistent effort yields the best results.

Fast or slow, cyclists can begin to enjoy benefits with just 10 minutes of daily cycling. For the best results and overall health benefits, bikers should try to work up to at least 30 minutes of cycling each day.

Why Consider Outdoor Cycling?

At first glance, some older adults may figure they need a stationary cycle to keep indoors and conveniently access in any weather. A biker doesn't need to worry about traffic, pedestrians, or even maintaining their balance with an indoor bike. Thus, stationary cycles do offer some advantages.

Still, many people find working out on a stationary bike more like a chore than they find cycling outdoors. For example:

  • A study published on the National Institute of Health backed this up by finding that outdoor cyclists found their experience more fun and less like an exhausting workout.
  • Study participants also reported greater improvement in their mental state after calming exposure to the outdoors.
  • Finally, the NIH report even referred to outdoor cycling as addictive, but cycling is a positive and healthy habit to acquire, unlike most addictions.

Even more, outdoor cycles have replaced cars or public transportation for short commutes or errands. Besides offering a source of exercise, cyclists enjoy taking an eco-friendly, fuel-efficient mode of transportation. There's no need to pay high prices at a gas pump when an investment in a proper cycle and bike gear can make the trip. A stationary bike cannot take its riders to work, to run errands, or to enjoy the scenery.

Cycling also offers a social outlet, with seniors increasingly enjoying both informal bike rides and organized events. Visit a local bike shop, search online, or organize a community biking club to find like-minded cyclists.

The Best Kinds of Bikes to Improve Mobility

Older adults need to consider their current fitness levels when deciding which type of bicycle will serve them the best. For instance, manufacturers make racing bikes for performance, but they don't necessarily make these kinds of bikes comfortable or easy to balance, mount, and dismount. Instead, look for a bike that will offer a safe and relaxing experience. With that in mind, consider the benefits of an adult tricycle, a hybrid bike, and an electric cruiser bicycle.

Three-Wheel Cycles

Some people call three-wheel bikes tricycles, but those engineered for adults have much more in common with other efficient cycles than those made for small children. Riders should find these bikes easy to pedal and ideal for pleasant rides at a leisurely pace.

Three-wheel cycles provide an excellent option in some cases. For instance:

  • Adults who experience balance problems, have concerns about balance, or those who never learned how to ride a two-wheel bicycle should strongly consider a three-wheel bike.
  • Typically, adult tricycles include a generous basket situated behind the two rear wheels. This basket makes three-wheelers the perfect solution for people who want to carry some groceries, snacks, or even electronic devices.

Adult tricycles won't please everybody. The extra tire will add weight and width to the frame, making these three-wheel bikes slightly harder to pedal, maneuver around corners, and fit on crowded paths or street lanes. Even though the third tire provides extra balance, riders should never lean on turns as they might on a regular bike because that could cause them to tip.

The Best Adult Tricycle for Older Riders

The 7-speed BodyEase Tricycle mitigates a lot of the disadvantages of typical adult tricycles. This model offers 1.95-inch tires for smooth gliding over streets or paths and a comfortable ride. In addition, the designers developed this ergonomic cycle to allow riders a natural sitting position, which people with joint and mobility issues generally find comfortable.

The BodyEase Tricycle even comes with a comfortable seat and grips. The cycle's low frame bar makes it easy to stop, mount, and dismount. The rear basket can accommodate a generous amount of supplies or even a medium-sized pet.

Hybrid Cruisers

While adult tricycles have gained popularity, most adults who learned to ride bikes in the past still prefer two-wheeled bikes. Bicycles offer faster speeds and better maneuverability through turns or on narrow paths.

A hybrid cruiser can give most people a pleasant experience, even if they suffer from achy or stiff joints. Manufacturers design this style of bike to work as a street bike but also make them suitable for other surfaces, like sand, dirt, or snow. This flexible design makes a hybrid cruiser versatile, and the design elements also contribute to a comfortable ride.

The ergonomic design lets riders sit in a natural and relaxed position, so they don't need to bend to reach the handlebars or pedals. Low bars make them easy to mount, dismount, or brace at a stop. Hybrid cruisers also generally have broader tires to absorb shock. Their design makes them less likely to slide around on wet pavement or more challenging terrain, but they're also perfect for city streets.

A Great Choice for a Hybrid Cruiser Bike for Seniors

As the name of this hybrid cruiser, RelaxedBody, implies, this bicycle provides the perfect choice for people who want a relaxed, tension-free ride. The design incorporates specific modifications to ease pressure on bones and joints while letting riders sit naturally.

For instance, the pedal position allows for a relaxed leg extension even when the seat's positioned at its lowest setting. Besides the two-inch tires, the padded seat and soft handgrips absorb shocks and allow for maximum comfort. A lightweight aluminum frame also makes this cycle easy to pedal and store.

Electric Cruiser Bikes

With an electric bike, riders can still pedal, as with a traditional bicycle. Cyclists also can engage an electric motor that can either provide all the power or more commonly, offer assistance to make pedaling more effortless. The battery for this motor charges with any electrical outlet.

Studies have found that people tend to get just as much exercise with electric bikes as they would with a solely human-powered one. That's because the motor helps extend range and speed, so e-bike riders tend to use their cycles more often and for more extended periods.

The motor also makes the cycle much more helpful for commuting, bike tours, and errands. The clean, electric power incentivizes electric bike owners to ride instead of driving a car or taking public transportation.

The Perfect E-Bike for People With Mobility Issues

Consider the EVRYJourney 500W for a comfortable, durable electric cruiser bike. This cycle comes in both men's and women's models, and they mainly differ by the height of the frame bar. Thus, rather than choosing a bicycle by gender, even men with mobility issues might decide that the woman's bike presents a unisex appearance and will be easier to mount and dismount.

This cycle allows for a relaxed, upright seated position, reducing strain on bones and joints. The slightly forward position of the pedals lets riders adjust the seat low but still extend their knees when pedaling. With a 500W battery and rear-drive motor, the battery's charge will last for up to 40 miles when assisted by pedaling and about 20 miles when only relying on the battery. Two-inch tires offer good control and a smooth ride.

The EVRYJourney 500W cycle also has a display on the handlebars, and the small screen displays speed and the level of power used. The thumb-throttle also rests on the handlebars where riders can easily find it to press.

Which Type of Bike Should Older Adults Buy?

Cruisers, hybrid bikes, adult tricycles, and electric bikes all offer advantages and disadvantages for seniors who want to maintain their fitness and improve their mobility.

Pros and Cons of Electric Bikes for Seniors

A comparable e-bike will cost more than a conventional bicycle because of the motor, battery, and throttle. The motor will make up for the additional weight, but older adults might find it harder to store the bike or take it with them on a trip in their car.

On the other hand, cyclists may find that they can replace different modes of transportation with an electric bicycle for errands or commuting. In that way, an electric bike can still make an economical choice. In particular, people who suffer from sore joints or poor fitness may feel more encouraged to ride their e-bike because of the extra assistance from the motor. In that way, the extra encouragement provided by this kind of bike offers good value.

Other Health Benefits of Cycling for Older Adults

Most Baby Boomers today probably remember the joy of cycling from when they were children, teens, and younger adults. In many ways, bike riding can serve as a virtual fountain of youth. For instance:

  • Enjoying the outdoors benefits mental health and ensures plenty of Vitamin D from the sun.
  • Even more, this physical activity helps boost immune systems. One cycling study posted by an insurance company found that regular cyclists in their 80s enjoyed the level of disease-fighting T cells typically found in 20-year-olds.
  • Cyclists maintain more lean muscle mass and lower their risk of succumbing to cancer or heart disease.

Not only can cycling keep people healthier and feeling younger, but it can also reduce their risk of many diseases.

Hybrids Vs. Cruisers Vs. Adult Tricycles

Hybrids and cruisers appear very similar, but consumers should consider a few critical differences. First, bike designers intend cruisers primarily for city streets, though most can navigate bike paths. A hybrid bike may not run quite as quickly along a paved road as a cruiser, but it also handles well across dirt, snow, sand, and other kinds of terrain.

A hybrid bike generally has somewhat wider tires, making it easier to balance on wet or rough patches, plus the thicker tires may offer more shock absorption. Also, hybrid frames generally let riders sit lower to the ground, making it easier to put feet down to stop, dismount, and mount.

The second rear wheel on adult tricycles provides more stability than a two-wheeled bike, and this feature also offers handy space for carrying items. At the same time, the wider frame makes three-wheel bikes a little more challenging to turn or navigate.

Which Bike Should Older Adults Buy to Improve Mobility?

Many disadvantages of various bike choices diminish with a high-quality model of any type. For instance, the lightweight aluminum frames of SixThreeZero cycles make them easier to pedal, plus the ergonomic design offers a comfortable ride. In other words, the designers of these high-quality cycles developed each model to emphasize the positive and make up for potential negatives.

Visit SixThreeZero for the best examples of any cycle, and enjoy riding the road to better health!


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