Benefits of cycling for the elderly: Cycle your way to health



Staying active in old age is important and so many turn to low-impact exercises such as walking or light jogging. But what about cycling? A column written by M.D. Michael Yaremchuk sparked a few controversies. Yaremchuk claimed cycling is not a physical activity one should recommend to seniors because he recently had a lot of elderly patients that have injured themselves during a bike ride. Obviously, we are dealing with a non causa pro causa logical fallacy here: the truth is, it’s not cycling itself that caused these accidents but the inattention of the riders. One should not disregard this extremely beneficial activity but rather ensure the good safety of it. Health policies continue to advocate cycling as a perfect exercise for seniors and numerous studies show positive results. Here are a few reasons for that.

The ultimate low impact exercise

Science confirmed what we all suspected: if you take a look at what your body goes through while jogging, you’ll see there is a lot more pressure on the joints with every intensive contact between the foot and the surface. However, circular movement during cycling ensures that energy and nutrients are transported evenly so they also find their way to cartilages, which prevents arthrosis. Cycling implies smooth and steady movement. Your muscles are engaged without too much stress brought on the knees and ankles. The fact that it’s a low-impact exercise makes it a perfect physical activity for those recovering from an injury.

Source: Pixabay

It builds strength and stamina

It is a misconception that one has to be amazingly fit to savor a bike ride. You can start by cycling through flat terrain and on a light pace and still enjoy numerous health benefits. When plunging into the cycling world, many seniors decide to try out electric bikes as they come with a built-in motor that can assist the pedaling. This truly comes in handy with uphill areas or if one gets too tired. It provides an additional support you can use when you feel you need a bit of a boost, which makes getting from point A to point B a lot more convenient. Cycling makes your whole body work, not just your legs. If you persist in regular rides, you can build your physique very quickly.

It promotes good mental health

Cycling is the best feel-good exercise and a great way to battle symptoms of depression, anxiety, or high stress. You’ll enjoy the rush of a bike ride as it impacts the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine – all responsible for making you feel happier, more content, and alert. One pilot study showed that seniors who participated in the research reported improved fitness and better performance in other physical activities (after being persistent with cycling), along with feeling better about themselves. Cycling helps one relax, supports confidence, and even socializing – when it comes to cycling in groups. In addition to this, it perfects mental agility. Increased blood flow transports oxygen more efficiently to all of the organs, including the brain.

Source: Pixabay

It keeps weight under control

If you stick with cycling, it can help you burn around 300 calories per hour, depending on your current weight and the tempo. It boosts your metabolism, which means you’ll burn calories even when you’re at rest. As a perfect cardio exercise, it helps with burning fat and gradually building muscle, especially thighs, rear end, and hips. Don’t shy away from cycling during winter: when the temperatures drop, the body’s metabolic rate slightly increases, which means more caloric expenditure in the long run.

It’s good for the heart and the immune system

Looking for a great cardiovascular exercise that will improve your fitness and help you stay healthy? Just hop on that bike! Cycling ensures lower resting pulse and supports your heart in achieving an optimal steady rhythm. If you commit to riding a bike regularly, you can increase your cardiovascular system by 3-7%. With reduced blood fat levels, the chances for heart disease decrease. In addition to that, if you cycle for just about half an hour per day, you lower the risks of developing diabetes and other health issues such as kidney malfunction, skin diseases, and ocular diseases. It strengthens your skeletal system and boosts your immunity, making you more resilient.  If you prefer cycling indoors, check out these recumbent bikes for seniors reviewed by Future Sport.


In addition to all of these benefits, you will feel more energized and ready to seize the day. Your self-image will improve and you’ll be overall much healthier. Age is just a number and rest assured – it’s never too late to start.

Enjoy Your Ride
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16 Responses to “ Benefits of cycling for the elderly: Cycle your way to health ”

  1. Steve on July 6, 2021 at 10:37 am

    Great article! I am 67 and have been biking for over 40 years. I try to ride 5 to 6 times per week. I cannot ride as fast or as long as I once could but last year I rode 900 miles. I am on pace to beat that milage this year. When I see my doctor for annual physicals the last thing he says when I leave is to “keep biking” so keep taking his advice.

  2. Hans Porter on June 20, 2021 at 4:35 am

    I’m a 60 yo male and I have been cycling practically every weekend throughout the year for the last 8 years or so.
    I have made this a disciplined regime, something I MUST do. On a good day I cycle over 50 kms but at my own happy pace although I push myself. I used to jog frequently as well but my knee ligaments are playing up a bit so I now only cycle. My sleep quality is very good most of the time, my food intake is of good portions for my age eating mainly crunchie salads and chicken breast which is lean. I seldom eat red meat. I recommend anyone in my age group to make cycling a regular past time, you will feel great

  3. frank ponto on April 18, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    im 66 and ride at least 2 times a week.ive been riding for 6 years increasing the miles i ride over the years.what a great exersize bicycling is.if you stick with it for awhile you will notice how your legs will get strong and rock hard and your overall body mobility will increase and so will your balance.dont let the cold stop you from riding either.just layer up and go go go.

  4. Ray on January 27, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    I am 84 yrs. old and ride my ebike (lowest assist setting) 25-to-30 miles 5-to-6 days per week over moderately hilly terrain. I literally feel deprived when weather or other circumstances prevent me from riding. Without question it makes me feel invigorated and definitely improves my overall attitude.

  5. Exercise on July 14, 2020 at 8:37 am

    It’s very interesting and helpful! Especially the tips, they are so great and not only useful, but neccessary I think. But they also take time to get used to and process. But I think we totally can, right? Thanks again. Looking for your next posts.

  6. physicians on June 6, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    Early morning cycling is good for people of all ages. Your information totally right and there is no any doubt about it. Thanks for the awareness.

  7. Jim on September 19, 2018 at 8:58 am

    My grandkids got me a t-shirt that says “A cycling grandpa never gets old.” Maybe that’s true. I’m 88, have been cycling somewhat seriously for 50+ years. As of today (9/19) I have 1300+ miles for the year – should make my 1600 mile goal.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 19, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Way to go, Jim. That is so fantastic. Keep up the good work and great riding, young man.

      • Venugopal on July 25, 2019 at 9:00 pm

        sir certainly A good inspiration for persons like me wish to follow the same

  8. Premachandr on January 26, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    My age is 69 yrs. I regularly ride to hills in Mysore. India covering 50 kms. and week ends I go for long ride with our young cyclist to around 100 to 150 kms. I feel what all health benefits mentioned in the article I have attained from 4 yrs of active cycling.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on September 19, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Great to hear it. Thanks for your comments.

    • rk on March 30, 2019 at 8:06 am

      sir, congratulations , itoo have late started cycling at the age of 60yrs i cycle everyday about 15 kms /day,and i have achieved wt loss of 16kg ,priviousely i was 95 kg now 879 kg,and have diabities and high b pressure under good control

  9. Gareth Parry on January 21, 2018 at 1:07 am

    I’m 80 and live in beautiful Wiltshire where there are many country lanes and paths. However getting to them is potentially dangerous as, despite hi vis tabards and flashing lights, cyclists seem invisible to many motorists and there seems no solution; I don’t ride on pavements after being hit by a youthful cyclist as I alighted from a bus!

    • Darryl on January 21, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Sorry to hear about the trouble getting to the great cycling paths. I hope you’re either able to find a safe route there, or able to get there some other way so you can enjoy the ride.

  10. Vicky on December 26, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Really, cycling is good for health. Aside from running, i also often cycle. Glad to read your post! Thanks!

    • Darryl on January 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Vicky.


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