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.