Friday, July 19, 2024

Cycle Your Way to Better Health

HomeFitnessCycle Your Way to Better Health

On a recent trek to Alabama for his classof-1967 high school reunion, Len Burroughs was in for a shock.

“I looked around and, good lord, I was there with a bunch of old people,” he quipped. “Half my graduating class was dead and here I am running 100 miles a week on a bike at 74.”

Burroughs credits his still-sprightly condition to consistent participation in his favorite post-retirement pastime – Cycling at least three times a week with the North Florida Bicycle Club.

Bicycling offers a myriad of benefits. Physically, it promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles and improves joint mobility, aiding in overall fitness and weight management. Mentally, cycling enhances cognitive function, reduces stress and boosts mood through the release of endorphins. Plus, time outdoors is proven to improve sleep quality, immune systems and increase life expectancy.

Fellow club member and former runner-turned-cycling enthusiast Mark Sekelsky can attest.

“I haven’t visited a physical therapist in three years because cycling doesn’t lead to the same orthopedic issues that you have with running,” he says. “Besides the health benefits, there is a lot of camaraderie.”

Socially, bicycling with groups fosters a sense of community, providing opportunities for social interaction, motivation, accountability and shared experiences. Sekelsky notes that some 80 percent of his current active friendships are with fellow cyclists.

No matter if you’re a casual cruiser or more on the competitive side, buying a bike at 55+ is a far cry from what it was at 18. You’ll want to invest in something a bit sturdier as you age.

Top tips include:

  • Prioritize comfort and fit by opting for abike that is properly sized and adjusted.
  • Consider electric assist bikes for added balance, especially beneficial for riders to maintain speed and manage inclines.
  • Look for features like step through frames for easy mounting and wider tires for stability and shock absorption.

Whether you join a local bicycling club or opt to simply enjoy the sport with a few friends, Jacksonville’s public parks offer lots of bike trail options and more are on the way with the much-anticipated Emerald Trail completion.

Spin & Friend

Local groups to ride with:

North Florida Bicycle Club Formed in the 1970s as a racing club and, today, one of the Sunshine State’s largest bicycling clubs.

Velobrew An elite racing and inclusive cycling club with a junior cycling development program so you can get the grandkids involved, too.

SORBA (Southern Offroad Bicycle Association) JAX For the more adventurous among us. Working to grow and improve mountain biking in Northeast Florida through partnerships with municipal, county, state and federal land management agencies.


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