Your best cycling days may still be ahead

I cherished using my bicycle as a child, and whizzing alongside wooded roads with buddies on crisp autumn days. For me, the photographs of blurred leaves and sunshine are nonetheless contemporary, as are the emotions of freedom, pleasure, and the wind on my pores and skin. Now, solely an occasional bike journey with my kids jogs my memory how a lot I like biking.

However there are many causes to go for a journey, it doesn’t matter what your age. “It’s enjoyable, it’s socially oriented, and it will get you outdoors and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a bodily therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital. Plus, biking is an cardio exercise, it’s simple on the joints, and it helps construct muscle and bone.

Again within the saddle

Hopping on a bicycle sounds simple sufficient, however it may be a bit of more difficult as we become old, with stiff joints which will make it laborious to swing a leg excessive tube of a two-wheeler.

Luckily, bike producers are responding to fulfill riders’ wants. One possibility is the step-through bike, a two-wheeler with a low or absent high tube. “I get emails from individuals who inform me they’re using for the primary time in 20 years,” says Tony Biria of Biria Bicycles, which in 2002 launched a bicycle to the U.S. with a high tube that’s simply six inches off the bottom. Seaside cruisers and luxury bikes are additionally common amongst older cyclers. All three of those bike sorts function high-rise handlebars that allow you to sit down upright; vast tires for a easy journey; shock-absorbing seat posts; and decrease high tubes.

Different bike sorts embody tricycles, that are useful in case you are much less secure in your toes; and recumbent bikes that can help you lean again and journey. “When you’ve got spinal stenosis, a recumbent bike places your backbone in a flexed place and provides you ache reduction. However you probably have a herniated disk, the bike could make the disk bulge extra,” says Dr. Safran-Norton.

Gear up

You may make biking even safer and extra snug with particular gear.

Biking garments have high-tech fibers that wick away moisture. They’re often neon-colored, with reflective materials so that you’ll be seen to drivers. Bike shorts have a thick pad or chamois to forestall chafing and supply cushioning.

Bicycle seats (referred to as “saddles” in biking lingo) can be found with additional padding, in vast types that assist the pair of bones you sit on. Go even additional with a saddle that relieves stress on the perineum, the world between these bones, behind the genitals. It’s house to nerves and arteries that provide the decrease physique, and an excessive amount of stress right here might trigger numbness and tingling within the legs. Strain-relieving saddles might have a “noseless” or horseshoe design.

Put together earlier than taking to the highway

Getting a comfortable bike and all of the trimmings isn’t sufficient preparation to hit the highway. You’ll need to seek the advice of your physician first, particularly you probably have coronary heart illness, arthritis, or thinning bones. “When you’ve got osteoporosis, think about using a tricycle, which is extra secure than a two-wheeler, posing much less of a fall threat. I’d advise that you simply don’t journey a motorcycle in the event you’ve had a latest fracture. One other fall may make it worse,” says Dr. Safran-Norton.

When using, keep in mind that the seat top ought to permit a slight bend at your knee. “You don’t desire a straight knee at backside of the pedal stroke, as a result of the bike might be too tall and you might fall off,” says Dr. Safran-Norton.

Different suggestions:

  • put on a helmet
  • don’t use clips to maintain your toes on the pedals, which may make accidents worse in the event you fall
  • don’t journey alone
  • follow bike paths as an alternative of the road
  • keep hydrated earlier than, throughout, and after your journey
  • and use sunscreen and sun shades.

Minding these security suggestions is essential. Some proof means that bicycle accidents amongst folks over age 45 have risen dramatically since 1998. However so long as you are taking precautions, biking remains to be thought of a protected strategy to train, get round, and have enjoyable.

And keep in mind that having enjoyable is actually what that is all about. In the event you take pleasure in exercising, you’ll be extra prone to do it. Within the case of biking, it might even make you’re feeling like a child once more.

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