Pedaling into Health and Happiness
April 19, 2023
No matter what your age, there is something about riding a bike that represents strength and independence. Maybe it’s remembering that feeling of freedom you got the first time you rode your bike around your neighborhood—free from parents’ supervision and with the ability to knock on a friend’s door to ask if they wanted to come out and ride with you.
The notion that you never forget how to ride a bike is not a folktale. Riding a bike is a learned pattern of movement also known as muscle memory, BBC Science Focus reports. It’s estimated that 53.4 million people participate in bicycling in the U.S. Interest in cycling as a form of recreation and as a way to get around has prompted many cities and suburbs to increase cycling infrastructure in recent years. Some experts state that it takes as little as two to four hours a week to see health benefits from biking. And, if you prefer to work out on a stationary bike, you don’t even have to leave home to get those benefits.
Here are some benefits of biking:
Biking is a non-weight-bearing exercise and causes less strain and injuries than other forms of exercise.
Biking will get your heart pumping, and that’s good for you. It builds your heart muscle, lowers your resting heart level and reduces blood fat levels. Doing aerobic exercise, such as biking, teaches your heart to work more efficiently at other times.
The lower half of your body is working as it pushes the pedals, which qualifies it as a form of resistance training that builds muscle and burns calories.
Improved Balance and Coordination:
The risk of falling is a real health concern. It is estimated that one-third of adults over 65 years fall at least once a year. One study suggests that biking is a fall prevention strategy because it helps improve balance and coordination.
Mental Health Benefits:
Most any kind of exercise, including cycling, releases mood-enhancing endorphins that are credited with relaxing the mind and promoting happiness.
Remember how you and your friends used to waste away the hours biking to the park or just around the neighborhood? Even if your goal is simply to bike to the nearest coffee shop or café with your friends, biking is an activity that groups can do together.
Riding today may have changed a bit since you were a kid. Gone are the days when riding your bike meant the wind blowing through your hair. Today, helmets are essential biking gear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that helmets are effective in preventing head injuries. Other helpful items include reflective tape and accessories, so you are visible at night, a tire pump and patch kit, water or sports drink, a front headlight, rear reflectors, and a cell phone.
For biking that could not be more convenient, South Bay at Mount Pleasant senior living community offers a Wellness Center equipped with state-of-the-art exercise equipment, including stationary bikes. It also offers beautiful nature trails surrounding a lake that are ideal for walking or biking.
With a South Carolina climate that is temperate year-round, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, is a hub for outdoor activities, including cycling in parks and on nearby trails. South Bay at Mt. Pleasant is a premier rental senior living life plan community offering independent living. Shem Creek Health Center, located on campus, offers assisted living, memory care, rehabilitation, respite care, and skilled nursing care thus providing a continuum of care for seniors.