Everyone wants to grow old healthy and stay fit. Fortunately, you can Step-Through Bikes for Seniors to stay fit in old age. In healthy and fit aging, sufficient exercise makes a major positive contribution. So grab the bike!
By “elderly” we mean people with an age of at least 65 years. Although we write these tips for them, all advice is also great to follow if you are younger.
To work on your health as an elderly person, it is advisable to exercise moderately intensively for at least 150 minutes a week. Of course, that does not have to be 150 minutes in one day, as you can easily spread them over the entire week. You can read about how healthy a bike is here.
The bicycle is one of the most popular means of transport in the world. Many people use the “bike” on the way to work or together with the family, e.g. for a weekend getaway. Cycling in old age is also becoming increasingly popular.
In the following article, you will find out what these are and what seniors should pay particular attention to when cycling.
Benefits of Step-Through Bikes for Seniors
Is Cycling Good for the Elderly?
When you go cycling (including electric cycling) you are actively outdoors. You strengthen your heart, lungs, and resistance and by exercising, your brain also stays younger. Moreover, by moving also all kinds of lucky substances are released, which makes you feel better about yourself. An extra reward is that you are also working to burn calories, so it is also good for the body. If you regularly cycle or use the electric bicycle, you are certainly healthy.
Exercise is Basically the Best Medicine
Cycling is a very gentle sport and is good for bones and joints. We, therefore, welcome the trend that more and more elderly people ride bicycles. Because the electric drive offers people with handicaps or fitness deficits a viable alternative to conventional cycling, increases the mobility of older people and demands the use of the body despite the electric drive. Bicycle use, therefore, has a positive effect on older people.
Benefits for Seniors when Cycling
From a health point of view, exercise on a bike offers certain advantages. Above all, regular exercise protects the cardiovascular system and promotes blood flow to the entire body. Age-related diseases such as arteriosclerosis (deposits in the vascular walls) can thus be optimally prevented. Cycling is also a sport that is easy on the joints. The knee and hip joints are lubricated and relieved by the gentle load. Another aspect that speaks in favor of cycling is an exercise in the fresh air. This supplies the body with fresh oxygen and increases personal well-being. In addition, nature with its bright, calming colors has a positive effect on the psyche and helps to reduce stress hormones.
Types of Bicycles for the Seniors
Low Entry Bikes
With the balance bike, you can always reach the bottom with both legs without having to get off the saddle, so you can ride your bike with your legs perfectly extended.
This bike low entry-level is a bike with a low entry-level. In addition, this bike also has a specially designed frame that allows you to ride comfortably and also to reach the ground with both feet without getting off. Until a few years ago, this low step-through bike was known as the Tavara Balance. Its history goes back to 1985.
The bike has a unique frame construction: a deep step-through for seniors and the rider can always come with two feet on the ground and sit directly on the saddle. It differs a little from a normal low step-through bike, which only has a low step-through but a high seating position. We call this apparent safety, it’s easier to get on and off the bike, but the rider is still sitting high and when they suddenly stop, things still go wrong.
The overall ergonomics of the frame is designed in such a way that the driver can easily get in and out due to the low entry height, but also sit lower and still perform an optimal pedal movement. Because the cyclist is not sitting on top, but behind the bottom bracket. The other seating position allows the rider to sit on the saddle at any time and still have two feet on the ground. The driver also sits lower, so the center of gravity is also lower.
The more forward-facing pedaling allows you to use the power of your legs better than on a classic bicycle. This makes cycling particularly easy and comfortable.
This bike particularly suitable for people who want extra support and stability while cycling. With the many options and adjustments, every tricycle unique. All tricycles are also available as electric bikes.
The traditional tricycle is a bicycle with double tires at the rear and one wheel at the front, with the saddle above the bottom bracket. You step almost straight down and sit relatively high on the bike. Because the frame of a tricycle does not lean when cornering, a number of people need to get used to riding a tricycle.
With a front wheel, this type of bike is very maneuverable, which is due to the fact that almost all bikes are equipped with a differential.
You are not sitting above the bottom bracket, but something behind it. Your sitting position is a little lower and you can always reach the floor with both legs and still perform the optimal knee movement. With this variant, you do not have to lift your leg too much when getting on but can pull the bike under your body to sit on. Due to the low center of gravity, this tricycle also feels more comfortable.
The tricycle ensures stability and thus creates a feeling of security while driving. It’s easier to get on a tricycle and it gives you a more ergonomic sitting posture while cycling.
Due to the low entry height or the complete lack of entry and the various options, the tandems are often used with people who can no longer cycle independently.
The smooth-running tandems can be adjusted using the (optional) switchable idle speed so that you can determine how the front passenger travels. Thanks to the idle hub, the main link can adjust the type of co-driver pedaling.
With front steering, the idle hub has two settings: The pedals of the passenger move with the pedals of the main driver. The passenger has to come along.
The passenger’s pedals move independently of the main driver’s pedals. The pedals are neutral and the passenger cannot pedal.
With steering on the back of the tandem: There is a third setting for the steering on the back of the tandem. In this setting, the passenger’s pedals move independently of the main driver’s pedals. The co-driver can come along.
Riding a tandem is very healthy. They can communicate well with each other while cycling and benefit from exercise in the fresh air at the same time. The various tandems are also used as therapy bikes because, in addition to healthy movement, there is also intensive interpersonal contact. The combination of exercise and social contact has various positive effects on the well-being of the passenger. Due to the low entry height or the complete lack of entry and the various options, the tandems are often used with people who can no longer cycle independently. These tandems are used for a wide variety of disabilities, such as visual, physical, or mental limitations. This means that disabled people can participate in traffic despite their handicap.
What should Seniors Consider when Cycling?
Before you and the woman get on the bike, it should be checked to ensure that it is fully functional. Test the brakes, the tire pressure, and the bike chain can certainly use a little oil. The lighting must also be checked for road safety. Illuminated reflectors as well as the front and rear lights must be fully functional in order to be clearly visible to other road users even at dusk. If you notice major defects on your bike, you might be better off buying a new one. The aforementioned e-bikes are particularly popular with seniors. A built-in “auxiliary motor” supports the pedaling movement and makes you a real “runabout” even in old age.
Hiking is indisputably beneficial for the elderly, and we’ve written about it before.
If you get on a bike to work on your health, it is good to pay attention to a few things:
- Always seek the advice of a physiotherapist or doctor first if you decide to become more active in old age.
- Put your bike in a lower support position, so you exert more power with your own leg muscles.
- Cycle at an average pace and do not cycle too hard or too light.
- Try to cycle for at least 30 minutes consecutively.
- Is difficult getting on a bicycle? There are bicycles with an extra-low step that make getting on a lot easier.
12 Tips for Older Cyclists
Not an e-bike yet?
The arrival of the e-bike has made it possible for many people to pedal for longer. It cycles more easily through the pedal assistance and some models have an ideal low step-through. But pay attention to the higher speed you can achieve with this. And if you want to buy one, get advice and test different models. Choose the model that suits you best!
Much research has shown that a helmet can prevent serious injuries in many accidents. The use of the bicycle helmet is therefore strongly recommended.
Are you on medication? Check if you are allowed to cycle
Some medications have an influence on the ability to drive, for example, because they cause drowsiness or dizziness. If you are given a new medicine, your doctor or pharmacist must inform you. But you can also find it in the package insert or a warning on the packaging.
Decrease or disable the assistance
Especially if you have an e-bike with a rotation sensor, it is safer to only switch on the support when you are well and truly on the saddle. That way you prevent your bike from suddenly running off the support while walking next to the bike.
Do you wear glasses?
Reading glasses, various, TV glasses: every pair of glasses is different, and not every copy is equally suitable for cycling. Therefore, ask your optician whether you can drive safely with your glasses.
See and be seen
Good vision is essential, both for your own safety and that of others. Therefore, make sure you have properly functioning lighting, but also clothing with light or striking colors and possibly reflective stripes.
Tip: Regularly clean your lamps and reflectors.
A mirror for your convenience
If you have trouble looking back or lose your balance quickly as a result, a mirror on the steering wheel can help. This is especially useful on the left side because then you no longer have to look over your shoulder. But a second mirror on the right ensures that you have a little more view to the rear. Get good advice about the mirror that suits you and the correct placement of it.
Movement exercises for the bicycle
You can train yourself to better maintain your balance. For example, by standing on one leg in the morning and in the evening while brushing your teeth. Alternate left and right; that way you train every day to better maintain your balance. More range of motion exercises to keep fit – ask.
There are special pedals that reduce the chance of your feet slipping. But whatever kind of pedals you use, preferably also adjust your shoes: with rubber soles, your feet will slide off the pedals much less quickly than with leather soles.
Adjust the bike properly
It doesn’t hurt to readjust or have your bike readjusted. For example, by lowering the saddle to make getting on and off easier. You can then react more quickly to unexpected situations because you can reach the ground better with your feet. And putting your handlebars in the right position makes it easier to adopt a more upright riding position.
Crossing? Step off!
If you have to cross a street, it is best to get off. Especially if you have trouble looking back. Look in both directions and then cross the street, walking, or cycling.
Divide luggage over your bike
Try to take as little bulky and heavy items as possible with you on the bike, such as shopping bags. If you do this anyway, distribute the luggage as well as possible over the bike, for example by using two panniers.
Eric is the founder of bestfreetime.com. Of course, this is his nickname. In terms of the health of the ongoing projects, his identity is hidden for now. He is known around him as a forward-thinking, creative, innovative entrepreneur.