logo

Getting Started Exercising: Is Riding A Bike Better Than Walking?

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: March 10, 2023
Last updated: May 11, 2023

Regular exercise has numerous benefits for seniors, including improved cardiovascular health, increased muscle strength, and a reduced risk of falls and chronic disease. However, wellness for older adults can be vastly different from younger individuals, so it raises the question: is riding a bike better than walking for seniors? 

In this article, we'll explore the benefits and challenges of both activities to help seniors decide which one is right for them.

Walking For Exercise

Walking has numerous health benefits for seniors, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health: Walking regularly can help improve circulation and strengthen the heart, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Increased muscle strength: Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that can help build and maintain muscle mass, reducing the risk of sarcopenia.
  • Reduced risk of falls: Walking can help improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Improved mental health: Walking has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease: Walking can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

Challenges to Walking as an Exercise Option for Seniors

While walking is a great exercise option for many seniors, there are some challenges to consider, including:

  • Joint pain: Seniors with arthritis or other joint conditions may find walking to be uncomfortable or painful.
  • Weather: Inclement weather, such as rain or extreme heat, may make walking outside difficult or unsafe for seniors.
  • Safety concerns: Seniors who live in areas with high traffic or crime rates may feel unsafe walking alone.

Riding A Bike As An Exercise

Cycling has numerous health benefits for seniors, including:

  • Improved cardiovascular health: Cycling can help improve circulation and strengthen the heart, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Increased muscle strength: Cycling is a weight-bearing exercise that can help build and maintain muscle mass, reducing the risk of sarcopenia.
  • Reduced impact on joints: Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is easier on the joints than walking or running.
  • Improved mental health: Cycling has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease: Cycling can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

Challenges to Cycling as an Exercise Option for Seniors

While cycling is a great exercise option for many seniors, there are some challenges to consider, including:

  • Balance issues: Seniors with balance issues may find cycling difficult or unsafe.
  • Cost: Purchasing or renting a bicycle can be expensive, and some seniors may not have the financial resources.
  • Safety concerns: Seniors who cycle outdoors may be at risk of accidents or injuries, particularly if they are not wearing a helmet or are cycling in high-traffic areas.

Is Riding A Bike Better Than Walking For Seniors?

So, is riding a bike better than walking for seniors? The answer, as with many things, depends on the individual. Both walking and cycling have numerous health benefits for seniors, and both are accessible and low-impact forms of exercise.

Walking may be the better option for seniors who enjoy being outdoors and socializing with others. It requires no special equipment and can be done in groups or with friends. However, seniors living in areas with inclement weather or safety concerns may find cycling a better option, as it can be done indoors or on a stationary bike.

For seniors with joint pain or other mobility issues, cycling may be the better option, as it is a low-impact exercise that is easier on the joints than walking. However, seniors with balance issues or other medical conditions that may make cycling unsafe should consult with their healthcare provider before cycling.

Ultimately, the most important thing is for seniors to find an exercise that they enjoy and can stick to long-term. Whether it's walking, cycling or another form of exercise, staying active is key to maintaining good health and quality of life in our senior years.

Find The Right Exercise For You

Both walking and cycling have numerous health benefits for seniors, and both are accessible and low-impact forms of exercise. While there are some challenges to consider with each activity, the most important thing is for seniors to find an exercise they enjoy and can stick to long-term. Whether it's walking, cycling or another form of exercise, staying active is key to maintaining good health and quality of life in our senior years.

If you can't ride a bike due to balancing issues, try a three-wheeled bike instead. To know more about the best three-wheeled bikes for seniors, check out our detailed article about it today.

For a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and diet go hand in hand. Learn about healthy snack ideas for seniors with our Senior Strong guide.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo
William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
logo
After years of living under the care of your parents and other family members, the time will arrive for you to reciprocate. At Senior Strong, you can show your loved ones just how much you value them.
642 W 28th St, Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 877-8342
Senior Strong © Copyright 2024, All Rights Reserved