Benefits of Cycling for 45+
Think cycling, and images of a young and fit mountain biker wearing the perfect cycling gear - Lycra shorts, helmet, mountain bike shoes, and gloves come to mind. While this image is great for a cycling publication or a poster for an advert, it does not represent cyclists worldwide. Cycling is not only for young thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies, ironman competitors, triathletes, or Tour de France participants. Competitive cycling makes up a minuscule percentage of cyclists the world over.
The Netherlands, a country famous for its million bicycles, has 63% of its population riding daily. And in Amsterdam, there are 800,000 bicycles versus 263,000 cars, and the city's population is slightly less than the number of bikes. Cycling is a way of life for most if not every resident in the Netherlands, regardless of age.
It is crucial as one gets older to stay active and regularly include a low-impact activity like walking, light jogging, and the best of all cycling. Its benefits are tremendous, not only to your physical health but even to your cognitive abilities.
Cycling and Brain Health
Moderate-intensity activities like walking, jogging, and cycling improve blood flow to the brain, supplying it with oxygen and other nutrients it needs to function correctly. Ageing tends to reduce fluid cognitive abilities like processing speeds, memory, and reasoning due to the diminishing connection between the neurons in the brain and brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which protects the brain from damage. However, a study on 125 amateur cyclists over 55 years of age indicated that participants post 30 minutes of cycling could better remember things, use reasoning, and improved strategizing ability than the physically inactive participants.
That's not all; cycling or a similar aerobic activity reduces a person's stress hormones improving their mood and serotonin levels, dopamine, and phenylethylamine all responsible for making you feel happier, more content, and alert.
That's a whole lot of cognitive benefits that you gain from cycling. Now let's see the physical gains of cycling for an older person.
Physical Benefits of Cycling
A study has shown that cycling is an aerobic total body workout, preserves muscle mass and strength while maintaining stable body fat and cholesterol levels. And since it is a low impact activity, there is no danger of putting stress on your joints.
You burn around 300 calories per hour when you cycle. And you get a boost to your metabolism a great way to burn calories even while at rest.
Another surprising benefit is the anti-ageing effect that cycling extends to the immune system. An organ called the thymus, a lymphoid organ of the immune system that makes immune cells called T-cells shrink from 20. But surprisingly, the thymuses of older cyclists were generating as many T-cells as those of young people.
A study published in British Medical Journals found that regular cycling cut the risk of death from all causes by more than 40% and cuts the risk of cancer and heart disease by 45%.
Smarter brain, lower stress, and a happier you are some of the effects of cycling regularly on your brain, especially for those middle-aged and over. Additionally, the positive impact of cycling on a person's physical self include ls lower risk of death, anti-ageing effect, preserved muscle mass, maintenance of stable fat and cholesterol levels, better immunity, improved metabolism, and a fitter flexible body."
Are you inspired to start cycling? Buying a new bicycle has never been easier. Check out the amazing collection by Ninety One. You can choose to purchase one online or through one of their 850+ dealers across the country.
In case you have never learned to ride a bike, it is time you started. We have tips for you here (link) on starting your cycling journey as an older adult. We also have helpful advice if you have decided to restart your cycling adventure after a very long time. (link)
If you have experienced the benefits of cycling as a middle-aged or an older adult, share your story with us. Write to us
Happy and Healthy Cycling to You!
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