Remember the excitement when you first learned to ride a bike? Bring the fun back by enjoying cycling once again.
Going for a bike ride is a great way to add a fun activity and exercise into your weekly routine. Invite a friend for socialization while you spin or expand your horizons by riding through a new location.
Health Benefits of Indoor or Outdoor Cycling
The benefits of cycling, no matter whether outdoors or on an indoor exercise bike, are immense. It’s an aerobic activity that gets your heart pumping, helps lower stress and blood pressure and strengthens hip and leg muscles, specifically the gluteus muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.
The increased muscle strength from the calves to the glutes also radiates out to help strengthen neighboring tendons, ligaments and bones. This helps improve overall balance and coordination.
How to Start Cycling at Age 50+
Use these tips to safely and effectively start your own bicycling training program.
Warm up and cool down. Prevent injury by stretching before and after your ride. A short walk to get your heart rate up before you ride can help with endurance and energy usage, so you don’t immediately feel winded on your bike.
Commit to a schedule. Plan to go cycling 3 or 4 times during the week. Mark it on your calendar. Invite friends to join you. By creating a schedule, it helps you stick with a plan and becomes a habit. Hopefully, it becomes a hobby you look forward to.
Mix up your rides. Challenge your body by riding some place new. Ride one day through a flat park, and the next time, try an area with hills. By changing the route, you’ll change the intensity.
Build up steadily. If you haven’t been active in a while, build up your exercise program little by little. Start with a couple rides a week at 15 minutes. Slowly increase the number of rides per week, the length of time and intensity.
Listen to your body. Exercise should never hurt. If a joint is red, swollen or tender to the touch, put cycling on hold and talk with your doctor. Muscle soreness or achiness can be normal, but a sharp pain in a specific area is not. Never “work through” the pain as you’ll likely cause more injury.
Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting. Consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition.
Finding the Right Fit in a Bike
When purchasing a new bicycle, it’s best to start with a local bike shop where staff can answer your questions and conduct a professional bike fitting to determine the appropriate frame size and seat height for you. Here are a few purchasing tips from Bicycling.com:
- Buy the highest-quality bike -- best parts and frame materials -- you can afford. It will pay back in comfort and performance.
- Go for a test ride. Plan on 20 to 40 minutes per bike to determine the fit and feel. Different brands may have identical components and frame materials, yet ride differently.
- Change the saddle if needed. This is one change many riders make. Avoid cushy seats with lots of padding as they will sink into an uncomfortable shape over time. Instead, use a firmer, narrower model that supports your muscles and bones. You might initially experience soreness but that will subside over a few weeks. Plan to test the seat for at least 25 miles. Some shops offer test saddles or a 30-day return policy.
Favorite Places to Bike in the Cincinnati Area
Ready for a bike ride? Check out a few of these favorite places to ride bikes around the Cincinnati area
International Friendship Park: A great view of the Ohio River on a smooth, easy path. Added bonus: beautiful landscaping and sculptures to enjoy.
Spring Grove Cemetery: Bicyclists are welcome to bike the grounds to view the beautiful landscaping, architecture and history within the cemetery.
Bike Tours of Cincinnati: Rent a bike and get a guided tour of Cincinnati. The Riverfront Bike Tour travels along the scenic riverfront and is kid friendly. This could be a great way to spend the day with grandchildren! For a cultural experience, take the Queen City Bike Tour. You’ll bike to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Great American Ballpark, Paul Brown Stadium, the Contemporary Arts Museum and Music Hall.
Devou Park: A path through the nearby Covington, Ky., park that begins at Devou Park Golf Course and ends at the Overlook near Drees Pavilion. It does include some hills and roads to cross.
Giles Conrad Park: A flat, 1.3-mile bike path with a great view of the Ohio River in neighboring Hebron, Ky.
Safety Tips When Bicycling at Any Age
- Wear a helmet.
- Bring water with you. Stay hydrated.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat on sunny days.
- Lock your car before you take off.
- Leave valuables at home.
Nestled high atop College Hill just minutes from downtown Cincinnati, the picturesque Twin Towers senior residential campus makes retirement living look beautiful.
We invite you to visit our campus here at Twin Towers. Tour our apartment homes and spacious single-family patio homes and experience what a day is like at Twin Towers. Contact Twin Towers online or give us a call! 513-853-2000.