Bicycling can be an excellent low-impact exercise for seniors. With that, it’s very important to understand that you may have to implement added safety measures you avoided when you were younger. Even if you never bothered to wear a helmet, the risk of falling and injury is much greater at this stage of life.
There may have been certain exercises you enjoyed doing in the past that are now too difficult or risky. Jogging can put a lot of strain on your knees and can lead to joint damage. Luckily, cycling is an excellent way to stay in shape, keep that heart healthy, all while avoiding the negative impact on your body that might come with other forms of exercise.
Keep the following bicycle safety tips for seniors in mind to have a safe ride:
Take Bike Specific Paths
Riding on the side of traffic can be the most dangerous way to ride. You never know what a driver’s going to do or whether he’s looking out for you or not. It’s best to be safe and stay on paths designated for bikers. While you might have ridden with the cars when you were younger, you may find it more difficult to keep your bike straight or turn at an intersection.
Bring A Phone
You may run out of steam after a while. That’s perfectly fine; however, you still need a way to get home.
The best way out of a bad situation, when you simply can’t go any longer, is to bring a cell phone to call a relative or Ride Share to pick you up. Make sure that you call for a car that is large enough to fit your bike in. While this is pretty rare, some do have have bike racks.
Look For Hazards
Hazards are a much bigger risk to you if your eye sight is starting to fail. Remember, you may be more prone to injury from falling and have a longer healing time.
If you wear glasses, always wear them while you are riding. It is best to never ride in the dark if you have problems with your eye sight. You should not ride after it snows as there may be ice on the road that is difficult to spot. Always ride on paths that are gravel free, such as concrete.
Be careful to watch out for other drivers. You can’t trust them to watch out for you.
Seniors are more prone to heat stroke and will have greater health risks from it. Always make sure it is not too hot out before you jump on your bike. If it is fairly hot out, plan to take a shorter ride.
You should bring a water bottle full of cool water with you to help your body stay cool and hydrated. Make sure that you take enough for the amount of time you plan to be on your bike.
Protect Those Knees
You may experience difficulty with arthritis or osteoporosis. If this is the case, you should be sure to go to a doctor and ask him or her if your knees are healthy enough for exercise.
Keeping your knees straight is highly important if you have joint issues. Keep them as straight as possible while you are cycling.
You might also want to purchase knee pads to help support your knees and protect them from damage if you fall.
Ride With Someone Else
Seniors should consider riding with someone else. Getting immediate attention for an injury is much more critical. Your riding buddy may also help with spotting potential hazards on the road. Plus, every activity is more fun when you take someone along with you.
Always Wear Safety Equipment
Wearing safety equipment should have been important to you when you were younger. If it wasn’t you need to become concerned about it now. Wearing elbow and knee patches is highly important to protect those joints.
Also, be sure that you wear a proper bike helmet for seniors to protect your head from injury. Out of all of them, the helmet is the most important part of protecting yourself.
You might need a different type of bike than when you were younger. There are many safe bikes for seniors to choose from that require less balance or force.
Understand How Far You Can Go
You should consider turning back or calling for help if you are feeling out of breath or have a strained feeling in your chest. If this is severe, you should immediately call 911.
You should stop biking and call for a pickup if you experience severe pain in your joints. If the pain is only moderate and you feel that you can go on, it might be a good idea to turn back and ride home.
It’s Healthy And Safe To Ride!
There are many benefits of cycling for seniors and they should have no trouble getting safe, healthy exercise on a bicycle. It is an excellent idea to ride as it can increase heart health, lead to weight loss, and promote longevity. If you have balance or mobility issues, you might find a three wheel bike easier for you to handle.
Consider calling your doctor and ask him or her if you are healthy enough to ride. It’s so important to pay attention to safety, even if you haven’t in the past, during your golden years.
Do you have other bike safety tips for older adults to share? Please do in the comments below!