Discover How Jumping on a Bicycle Can Be Fun..and Also Great Exercise

DSC_3013 Riding a bicycle can be a fun and rewarding exercise. I am 65 years old and I love riding my bike. I ride mostly for pleasure and for exercise.

I read an interesting article in one of my books, “Bike for Life – How to Ride to 100.” What was interesting is this:  ride like Picasso. Treat your bike like a giant paintbrush, taking you to creative and imaginative places in our wonderful outdoors. Your bicycle allows you to make connections to the world in many ways – adventure, exploration, beauty and utility.

How about riding your bike to work? You don’t have to ride every day, but even a couple of days each week can add a lot to your health. Your mental health will prosper more too. A nice quiet   ride home from work can relieve stress and put you in a more relaxed and creative state of mind.

The following article is by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Let me preface this article by stating that I have been bicycling daily for almost three years now, riding my bike to work, the supermarket, and other errands, as well as to far-off places. I have biked off-and-on for the past eight years or so, but it wasn’t until I found a bike that fit me three years ago that I started biking regularly. (Read the Quintessential Careers Environmental Pledge.)

Biking is a fantastic way to have fun, get great exercise, and reduce your carbon footprint. Biking is an adventure — whether biking to work or the store — or peddling long-distance for miles and miles. A side benefit is that I find I do some of my best thinking and creative problem-solving while riding my bike.

Before you think about biking — whether to work or for pleasure (or both) — read this primer to obtain ideas for how you want to proceed. The main sections of this primer deal with:

  1. Health & Biking
  2. Bike Planning & Preparation
  3. Bicycle Equipment
  4. Street Smarts for Bicyclists
  5. Bicycle Organizations & Links

To read more (and learn more!) of Dr. Hansen’s love of bicycling, please click below:

Biking for Health, Fun, and Environment: A Primer

Here is another interesting article on why cycling is a great exercise. I love what they say about cycling freeing your mind of clutter, as well as being one with nature, even if you are biking in a city. Go ride through your favorite park and experience the sounds, the aroma, the feel.

Why Cycling is Great Exercise

Bicycling is a wonderful activity for so many reasons. It saves on gas consumption, doesn’t add pollution to the air, is economical in maintenance compared to a scooter or a car, doesn’t require insurance or a license to drive, and offers many health benefits. In fact, cycling is becoming so important and so mainstream that many cities are now adding bike lanes to their major roads and thoroughfares. What was once a sport to be enjoyed in a park or back trail is now a recognized form of transportation with its own designated routes.

Aside from all of the environmental and financial positives, cycling is great exercise. It works all parts of the body since you have to be able to balance yourself while at the same time power the bike. And, of course, your rear end really gets a workout having to stay on the little seat while traveling. It is good for posture and helps to strengthen the back, arms and legs. Plus, cycling is terrific for the mind and soul. It encourages your mind to wander, freeing up all the day’s clutter. It allows you to be at one with nature when cycling for fun or in a park-like setting. Recreational cycling allows you to enjoy the little things that you would not normally see. Indeed, all cycling should be taken seriously in terms of safety by wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road, but cycling embraces life, which in turn helps to heal life’s negatives.

Bicycling For Fun
My Trusty Bike

One of the key reasons why cycling is great exercise is because it is a full cardiovascular workout. The motion keeps blood pumping to and from the heart, and increases healthy circulation throughout the limbs. It is generally safer to the body, as well, than exercise that requires pounding on the knees, feet and joints. There is little pressure on the joints when riding a bike. And although the knees may absorb some pressure, it is usually much less than other forms of exercise such as high impact aerobics, jogging or even basketball.

Another reason to cycle is weight management. Bicycling helps to shed fat and keep the pounds off. When riding a bike on a somewhat regular schedule, the body stays lean and there is less opportunity for flabby legs and arms. Despite the fact that it appears as though the stomach is doing no work while riding, it does in fact tighten up, creating a nicer physique.

Further, the beauty of cycling is that anyone can do it at their own pace. It is natural for young children to love bike riding, but nowadays, everyone can participate. The key is to find the level that best suits your ability and current physical health condition. Cycling is not meant to be a marathon if you are not able. It is better to work up to longer jaunts progressively over time.

Also, your health will determine the type of bike you use. For example, an older, frail person who learned to ride on the original style bikes with brakes on the backward pedal may be safer on that same type of bike, rather than a ten-speed with front and rear brake controls on the handlebars. Likewise, using a mountain bike to ride up steep hills and inclines might not be suitable for someone who is rather weak and wobbly on a bike. Always start a cycling exercise regimen at the level that is most comfortable, and on the equipment that bests suits your immediate needs.

Want to continue reading?

Top 5 Senior Health Tips – Simple Ideas for Body, Mind and Spirit

WalkingWhen I was looking at the following article about senior health tips, a sentence grabbed my attention! You can see it below in bold: When it comes to their well-being, older adults shouldn’t act like victims to aging. They should be active – physically, socially, and spiritually! First of all, acting like a victim is to blame someone or something for your problems. When we have this mental attitude, it becomes very difficult – almost impossible – to be responsible for our own health.

Next, let’s not forget the spiritual impact on our well-being either. Our spirituality can give us added strength and hope and give us a direction to follow.  Let me know what you think of these senior health tips.  Stephen

Professional Help: 5 Tips for Senior Citizens on Simple, Healthy Living
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/professional-help-5-tips-for-senior-citizens-on-simple-healthy-living/252556/
Feb 10, 2012  Professional Help: 5 Tips for Senior Citizens on Simple, Healthy Living. By Hans Villaric

When it comes to their well-being, older adults shouldn’t act like victims to aging. They should be active—physically, socially, and spiritually.

To slow down the physical and mental decline that comes with age, drugs and exercise aren’t enough. According to a study out of the University of Southern California, a lifestyle makeover is necessary.

This week on Professional Help, professor and occupational therapist Florence Clark shares five tips for seniors on sustainable, successful aging from her Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health paper (PDF). Thankfully, her method, while backed by rigorous research, is also surprisingly simple: walk outside, meet up with friends, go to church, and just be as active as possible.


Dog Walking It’s never too late to go healthy. Anybody, young or old, can successfully redesign the way they live to be healthier. While we don’t have a say in our own genetic makeup, greater than 50 percent of our mental and physical health status is related to lifestyle. You can even start small: ride public transportation, reconnect with a long-lost friend, join a ballroom dance class, or follow guidelines on how to safely move around the community. The point is, try something new and be willing to learn.

Take control of your health. Appreciate the relationship between what you do, how you feel, and their impact on your well-being. Our research suggests that social and productive activities are as important as physical ones for staying healthy. As we age, even deceptively simple or downright mundane pursuits like reading the newspaper, cooking a potluck dish, walking the dog, or going to church have a powerful influence on our physical and mental health.

Know thyself. The guiding principle of Socrates rings just as true today as it did in ancient Athens. Lifestyle changes are most sustainable when they fit into the fabric of your everyday life — your interests, schedule, and self-concept. Identify supports on your journey that are strong enough to counterbalance the obstacles you face. Set goals that are challenging but still realistic enough to be achieved.

Anticipate how chronic conditions may affect your plan. Over 70 percent of seniors age 65 and older have a chronic condition, such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, COPD, or cataracts. Don’t let these impede your progress. Before a big game, elite athletes visualize their performance in their minds’ eye. So too should you be prepared for the potential ways you might have to adapt or improvise. And, of course, consult your physician in advance about any new activities.

Living longer can also mean living better. Our research demonstrates that maintaining a mix of productive, social, physical, and spiritual activities as you age can lead to increased vitality, social function, mental health, and life satisfaction, along with decreased symptoms of depression and self-reported bodily pain. Even better, activity-centric lifestyle interventions to ward off illness and disability may also be more cost-effective and have fewer negative side effects than prescription drugs.

Health – Senior Living Health
http://seniorliving.about.com/od/healthnutrition/u/health.htm
Taking care of your health, and following simple safety tips, can help you make the most of and advice on health, fitness, nutrition and safety for boomers and seniors. Myths that Make It Harder to Lose Weight · 5 Senior Health Tips of older adults will help you look better and and feel your best–at any age.

5 Senior Health Daily Diet Tips

Many senior citizens are looking for ways to maintain and improve their health and quality of life. Concentrating on a few healthy diet tips can help seniors feel better and live longer. The proper diet and good lifestyle choices can help seniors increase energy levels, improve mental acuity, combat illness and disease, strengthen the immune system, and recover faster from medical procedures.Eat a Healthy BreakfastIt is important to eat a good healthy breakfast. It helps jump start the metabolism, can help absorb the medications that should be taken with food, helps control blood sugar throughout the day, and can improve mental acuity for the rest of the day. A good breakfast should include protein and fiber. Fruits, whole grain toast, egg or egg substitute, cheese, or fortified juices are good choices, but any balanced breakfast is good start to the day.Drink Plenty of Water

It can be hard for seniors to drink enough fluids throughout the day. Many seniors are tempted to drink less water in order to avoid the extra trips to the bathroom. Even though those extra trips can be annoying, avoiding frequent urination by not drinking enough can cause mild chronic dehydration with significant negative effects on overall health. Those effects include mental confusion, higher blood pressure, a decline in kidney function, and stress on the heart and other organs. As the body ages the sense of thirst becomes blunted so seniors should drink fluids throughout the day whether they feel thirsty or not. Water consumption is important for the absorption of nutrients and medication, proper organ function, regulation of body temperature, cell regeneration, and mental sharpness.

Eat Several Small Meals a Day

As the body ages and metabolism slows down most seniors need fewer calories for their daily activities. Eating a large meal and using fewer calories makes it more likely for part of a large meal to be stored as fat. Eating several small meals not only helps avoid overeating, but also helps maintain a more constant blood sugar level and keeps the metabolism at a more steady level throughout the day.

Consume Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Seniors experience changes in digestion, stomach acid composition, and saliva production that affect how the body processes vitamins and minerals. It is important for seniors to consume adequate calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health and strength. Absorption of B6, B12, and folic acid, can also be affected as the body ages. B vitamins are essential for a good circulation, sharp memory, and mental acuity. Seniors should check with their doctors about taking a multivitamin or other vitamin supplements to improve health. Vitamin supplements can be particularly important for seniors who struggle with eating a balanced diet naturally rich in nutrients or for seniors on certain medications. You should consult with your doctor about how, when, and with what medication you can safely take any nutritional supplement.

Exercise and Weight Training

As the body ages and the metabolism slows down, it can harder to exercise and easier to gain weight. Seniors, however, who maintain even an easy exercise routine can improve circulation and metabolism, which leads to greater overall health. Exercising with light weights can provide enormous benefits including better weight management, increased bone strength, improved mobility and flexibility, decrease high blood pressure symptoms, increased muscle mass, and improved balance. Even seniors with mobility or pain issues can benefit from an exercise program in the form of hand weights or water therapy.

These daily senior health tips can help seniors improve their diet and overall health. The benefits from making these simple changes include better circulation, increased metabolism, increased strength and flexibility, improved immune response, and increased energy levels.

Sources:

http://www.helpguide.org/life/senior_nutrition.htm

http://www.dietbites.com/Golden-Years-Fitness/enhancing-health.html

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