It's natural if you think the best bikes for seniors are traditional bikes rather than ebikes. After all, traditional bikes involve more movement, and riders must work harder. However, ebikes for seniors may actually be better. That's according to a study published in February 2019 in PLOS One. Let's look at the reasons why.
Improved Executive Function
In the study, researchers in the United Kingdom assessed three groups of seniors for two months. One group rode ebikes, while another rode traditional bikes. The third group didn't ride at all. None of the seniors were regular bike riders, and they ranged in age from 50 to 83. Members in each bike group were supposed to ride for a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week.
The ebike riders ended up with better executive function and higher mental processing speed than the traditional riders. Both groups did show noticeable improvement, while the control group of non-riders did not.
Researchers also concluded that the ebike seniors had a higher feeling of well-being than the traditional riders. Ebike seniors felt fairly confident riding around town and had powered support while riding. Meanwhile, the seniors on pedal bikes may have needed to exert themselves so much that riding was not fun. They didn't have the same level of support nor the same opportunities to explore their surroundings that the ebiking seniors did.
Moreover, the ebikers ended up spending at least 30 minutes more per week on their ebikes. More time outside may have translated to a higher mental, emotional and physical boost.
Differing Physical Needs
Senior citizens, compared with their younger counterparts, have different physical needs. Many seniors aren't as limber as they used to be. Their stamina isn't as high, and their strength, visual acuity and hearing ability may have decreased. Ebikes represent a middle ground between exercise and support for seniors. They can pedal when they want to and rest when they need to. Conversely, seniors on traditional pedal bikes might struggle to stay aware of their environment while pedaling. There can be too much going on for them to enjoy their time outdoors.
Bottom line: If you're looking at bicycles for seniors, seriously consider an ebike instead of a pedal bike.
A Look at Ebikes for Seniors
Many types of ebikes exist. The best electric bike depends on your specific situation. Many retailers let you narrow your search by speed (for example, 24 mph or 28 mph) and motor (250 watt or 500 watt), among other criteria.
Likewise, mens electric bikes are categorized differently from women's. Bicycles designed for males are bigger and have a longer distance between the saddle and handlebar. Keep your height in mind when you're shopping.
Fortunately, many retailers have categories tailor-made for bicycles for older adults. For instance, some categories are, "bikes for the elderly," "bikes for bad backs," and "bikes for bad knees." If you're shopping online, look for sellers that offer test rides. Some do this for as long as 90 days. If a bike doesn't work out, you can send it back for a refund.
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