The Benefits Of Cycling For Seniors Living with Arthritis

September 5, 2019

Nearly 50% of people over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with arthritis. Exercise can help alleviate arthritis pain and improve joint flexibility, however, arthritis can also make certain forms of exercise more challenging. Fortunately, cycling is a low-impact exercise option for seniors with arthritis pain, helping them to stay active and improve symptoms of their condition. As we’ve written previously, having the right bike parts can play a role in injury prevention and ease or riding for cyclist of all ages.  Yet, specific to older cyclists, partnership with the government is key to promoting better public health, as government sponsorship of cycling programs for older adults in the community can dramatically improve the quality of life for the 10.9 percent of Colorado residents who are over 65.

Cardiovascular Exercise is Crucial if You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own tissues, resulting in inflammation. This inflammation is not just limited to the joints but affects all systems of the body, including the heart. As a result, people who have rheumatoid arthritis are 50% more likely to develop heart disease. Cycling is a great way to increase your heart rate and manage weight, reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke. The CDC currently awards 71.4 million dollars at the state and local level to raise awareness, deliver medical care and develop lifestyle programs to prevent and treat heart disease. Needless to say, using these funds towards a cycling program would help seniors with rheumatoid arthritis take charge of their cardiovascular health.

Cycling Improves Joint Health Without Causing Pain
Regular activity has a number of proven benefits for improving the health of people with arthritis. Running or jogging, however, may not be the best choice for seniors with certain types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis wears down the cartilage and tissue between the joints, which means that running while you have this condition results in bone rubbing against bone. Cycling, on the other hand, does not involve bearing any weight on your joints and flushes oxygen-rich blood through the joints to keep them healthy and lubricated. While it may be difficult to motivate yourself to exercise, especially if you’re struggling with pain or discomfort, joining a group at a local senior recreation center can making working out more fun.

It’s Easy to Modify Cycling to Meet Your Needs
Seniors with arthritis can take steps to modify their cycling equipment and bike parts to best ensure their comfort and safety, and the efficacy of their workout. Fortunately, at Peak Cycles, we are your bike fit resource offering improved comfort, efficiency, and performance regardless of the cyclist’s age.  And, since arthritis is the primary diagnosis in nearly 5% of seniors living in nursing homes, government programs can help provide funding for exercise equipment that makes cycling possible for seniors in assisted living facilities. A recumbent bicycle supports the back and allows you to exercise without placing any pressure on your knees. It may also be easier to get on and off a recumbent bicycle. A gel-padded saddle can also help you maintain proper posture and keep your lower back from aching. It’s important to make sure your road, mountain, or hybrid bike is properly adjusted to your height, to avoid having to bend over the handlebars uncomfortably. Again, this is where a bit fit makes a world of difference in comfort. 

Incorporating cycling into your exercise plan is a great way to alleviate arthritis and maintain healthy joints as you age. Finding safe and effective forms of exercise for seniors ensures better overall health and a better quality of life. If you’re over 65 and living with arthritis, start pedaling your way towards living pain-free.

 


How to Improve Joint Health While Cycling Safely 

June 12, 2014

healthWhen you feel great, you probably take your fitness and health for granted. But as many cyclist know, it doesn’t take but a quick spill on the bike to go from a physically fit state to an injured one with limitations on riding and training time. Surface injuries are the easiest to heal but as we’ve seen in the recent crash that injured BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney at the Volkswagen USA Cycling National Road Championship, broken bones and muscle injuries can make a good season turn bad.

With June being National Safety Month, how can you avoid injuries, improve joint health, and capture the gains of an active lifestyle? Answers can be found in the post, Bike Inspections: A Guide for Injury Free, Enjoyable Spring Cycling, which shares the importance of having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear. More importantly, for safe riding, regular bike inspections are in order.  If you’re not sure what to look for, you want to notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  For instance, saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design. Replacing older items like saddles, cables, tires and brakes provide safety and peace of mind while riding.

Also, consider if the right bike parts can make a difference in injury prevention.   In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, there are numerous benefits to getting a professional bike fit in which you can dial in the appropriate riding position for you as well as the exact bike parts needed to accommodate that fit precisely.

Cycling is safe and effective, fun way to improve fitness as well as joint health. It strengthens muscles which puts less pressure on joints and it is a low-impact exercise limits wear on cartilage around joints .  When you take a few preventative measures, as in bike inspections, bike maintenance and commit to a regular cycling schedule, not only do you improve joint health and fitness, but you also improve your overall peace of mind.  Enjoy a National Safety Month from the view of your two wheeled friend!