Warmer weather provides ample opportunity for outdoor activities that burn calories and strengthen our hearts. That said, high-impact exercises can be dicey propositions for seniors and younger adults with joint problems. Bike workouts are the perfect solution for these people; however, it’s important to choose the right bicycle for your requirements.
Evaluating Your Options
There are four basic types of bicycles. These include:
- Mountain bikes: Ideal for hills and rough terrain, these bikes are okay on pavement, but work best on dirt paths. They are also relatively slow due to their smaller wheels.
- Road bikes: Good for going long distances on paved streets, these bikes have narrower wheels for increased speed and a smoother ride.
- Hybrids: A cross between a road and mountain bike, these versatile bikes are good options for people who are just beginning to ride.
- Recreational bikes: Ideal for leisurely rides, these bicycles are best for people who need transportation from point A to point B.
- Racing bikes: Designed for optimal speed, these lightweight bikes are usually made from high-tech materials, which make them quite pricey.
Making a Good Choice
When choosing a bike, ask yourself the following key questions:
- Will I ride the bike on roads or trails?
- Am I riding for fun, for fitness or to save gas?
- What riding position would I prefer? (Upright or leaning forward)?
Once you’ve answered these questions to the best of your ability and can better target the right kind of bicycle.
Ensuring a Good Fit
If you choose a bike that doesn’t fit properly, you may experience muscle and back pain, which will discourage you from riding. You may also be at a higher risk of crashing. Adjustments can help, but only to a point. Before settling on any one bike, check the following:
- Be sure your leg is slightly bent when your foot is on the pedal at its lowest point.
- Your arm should also have a slight bend at the elbow, when your hands are grasping the handlebars.
- When straddling the bike, be sure there is a one-inch clearance between yourself and the bar.
Things to Consider
Although you can save good money buying used bikes, newer models tend to be safer and longer-lasting. They also provide the opportunity to meet with a knowledgeable bike seller who can help ensure a proper fit. Also, always wear a helmet when riding your bicycle and meet with your physician for a checkup before beginning any rigorous fitness routine.