When thinking of retirement, we often envision life slowing down, as every day becomes a Sunday. But why not take this era into a higher gear and introduce a new and exciting hobby – cycling? Not only will you have fun, but cycling has a whole range of exciting benefits that you can read about right here. Put that bus pass away, because after you hear about the benefits of cycling during retirement, you’ll be stuck to the saddle!
Reason #1 to Take Up Cycling During Retirement: Cycling Improves Health
A healthy lifestyle and balanced diet are crucial to staying fit when older. Regular exercise helps to maintain cognitive, psychological and physical health, and as we age these factors are imperative if we want to enjoy our well-earned departure from employment (Source: 11 Benefits of Cycling).
As we enter retirement, we have more free time on our hands, and this can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. To combat this, hobbies and exercise should be introduced. Painting and fishing are no doubt fun skills to learn; however, cycling is something that can have a huge impact on every aspect of your life.
Don’t just take my word for it: listen to Hugh Porter MBE, former pro cyclist, as he talks about the benefits of cycling for seniors:
Health problems can creep up on you and provide unplanned obstacles to overcome. Obesity is becoming a significant problem in developed countries and is the predominant cause of heart disease and strokes (Source: NHS Choices).
Getting out on the road and cycling just four miles a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by half with only a small amount of time investment. Regular cycling can also lead to a decrease in breast and bowel cancer, and diabetes.
Additionally, cycling is regarded as a low impact form of exercise, which means that it places little stress on joints. If you have arthritis, it is ideal as it is one of the very few cardiovascular workouts that does not put undue stress and strain on the body. And if you have balance, back, neurological, or other problems, there are many options, such as getting a tricycle or a recumbent bike.
The great thing about cycling is there are so many accessories to track your health! Items such as GPS devices even track your calories!
As well as improving physical health, cycling can also help to alleviate mental health issues. Chemicals called endorphins are released when exercising, which produce a euphoric feeling and are proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression (Source: Web MD).
Pro Tip: There are many free and paid apps that can help you get fit with cycling, and make it more fun too! Read all about them in this useful post here about free and paid cycling apps.
Reason #2 to Take Up Cycling During Retirement: Cycling is Good for the Environment
As you may well know, the world we live in is in a sorry state. It’s struggling to keep up with the chemicals our machines are spewing into the air. Fortunately, in recent years levels of pollution have dropped, thanks to schemes and legislation that tackle the smog (Source: UK Dept. for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Cycling ticks all the boxes for those who are environmentally conscious. It is an entirely emission-free method of transport, and with new cycle paths popping up all the time, it is becoming much safer too. Hopping on your bike not only gives Mother Nature a break, but it helps to preserve her beauty for future generations.
Reason # 3 to Take Up Cycling During Retirement: Cycling Improves Relationships
Retirement is often said to be when you stop living at work and start working at living. People start to prioritize themselves and their nearest and dearest. They begin to spend more time with grandchildren and spouses, and on their various personal passions.
Cycling can help to bind these facets of life together in a fun and healthy pastime. A family cycle ride on a summer’s day can create beautiful memories and is an accessible activity for all ages.
Looking to improve relations with the other half? Then a romantic jaunt in the country can be a perfect way to rekindle the flame. Recent research even suggests that cycling can have a positive impact on your sex life (Source: Bicycling.com). This video affirms that cycling is good for your libido and sex life – as well as your happiness and your brain health:
If you’re more of a solitary person, then cycling can provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people and make friends. With social cycling groups available worldwide, you can join one wherever you’re living. The cycling community is renowned for its inclusive and friendly attitude, with age regarded as just a number and not what defines you.
Cycling can also add independence to your life by removing your reliance on public transport and family members. This helps to maintain your freedom, plus the authority that is so often lost as you age.
Reason # 4 to Take Up Cycling During Retirement: Cycling Gives You More Opportunities to Travel
Cycling is a fantastic way of enjoying the benefits that retirement offers. It is not necessary to spend your entire life savings on visiting exotic places, eating strange foods and experiencing new cultures! With many cities now offering cycling tours, cycling is a great and inexpensive way to experience a unique view of your destination. Some cities, such as Girona in Spain, are even built especially around cycling.
There are few restrictions on where you can cycle. Bikes are not confined by roads like cars, so you can get up close and explore unspoilt woodlands, beaches and river banks.
Cycle tours often choose less known routes of the city because of congestion. This usually leads to being given a local’s view, which is far more interesting than the well-beaten tourist track.
Also, many cities now offer bike share programs, which means you can do all your exploring of many cities on a bike. This is not only cheaper than taking cabs – it also burns up many of the extra calories you might eat on a vacation.
Reason # 5 to Take Up Cycling During Retirement: Take a Staycation on Your Bike!
On the one hand, it’s great to get away from home; however, you don’t have to go abroad to experience new sights and sounds. Cycling can offer you a fresh experience of your back yard, and with a few clicks, you can access bike routes online.
Discovering that perfect picnic spot or stunning lookout point could only be a short bike ride away@
This Guest Post is from Mike McLeish, who is the owner of the bicycle blog Pinch-Flat. He’s currently taking full advantage of the warm weather in SE Asia. You can find him cycling through traffic in Kuala Lumpur, attempting to drink coffee from a plastic bag, or eating Nasi Lemak at a local corner shop. Follow him on Twitter at @Pinch_Flat.
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