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Electric Bikes May Help Baby Boomers Stay Active

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Physical activity is vital for American baby boomers, and electric bikes, which can ease adults into regular exercise, may be one of the best ways for baby boomers to both stay active and have fun.

In 2018, 29.5 percent of American adults aged 65 and older reported doing no physical activity or exercise according to data from the Center for Disease Control published on the America’s Health Rankings website.

Physical activity among American adults by state. Source: The State of Obesity.

 

This represents a significant problem because physical inactivity likely contributes to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and many other health problems. For example, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s The State of Obesity project found that 34.3 percent of Kentucky residents were obese in 2017. That same year, a nearly identical percentage (34.4 percent) of Kentuckians reported being inactive.

Obesity is a problem in the United States. Source: The State of Obesity.

 

“As we get older, physical exercise becomes more and more important,” wrote Ana Sandoiu in a Medical News Today post. “For instance, aerobic activity and muscle training have been shown to improve the psychological well-being of elderly people, and even a few minutes of light exercise can increase lifespan and improve brain function.”

Sandoiu’s post was an introduction to a study published in the July 2018 issue of The Journals of Gerontology. This study found that even two weeks of inactivity in overweight, prediabetic adults could increase the risk of diabetes.

All of this data and all of these reports tell us that American baby boomers should try to be physically active, but how do you do it?

Electric Bikes May Encourage Physical Activity for Baby Boomers

You’re probably familiar with old sayings like “you have to crawl before you walk,” or “you have to walk before you run.”

These adages make a good point. If you’re a somewhat inactive adult, your first step toward getting back into shape (or even staying in shape for that matter) is probably not going to be to run a marathon this weekend or to compete in the Tour de France bike race in July. Rather, you will want to build up to it, and an electric bike is an excellent way to ease into exercise and physical activity.

“I am huffing and puffing along a hilly bike path struggling to keep up with a rider who is 13 years older than me and under doctor’s orders not to exercise too aggressively after a recent pacemaker operation,” wrote Jay Walljasper for the AARP. “I’m a hardy cyclist, who rides thousands of miles year-round in Minnesota, so who’s this guy — a championship bike racer?”

“No, he’s Skip Humphrey, a former Minnesota attorney general and long-time, high-level AARP volunteer who was celebrating his 75th birthday the day we rode. What’s his secret: Humphrey rides an ebike, which is a bicycle equipped with a small electric battery to boost his pedaling,” Walljasper wrote.

The pedal assist and throttle systems found on an electric bike will help to carry you up hills and ease your leg, arm, and back muscles into physical activity.

“Electric bikes offer riders a high degree of control over the level of physical exertion required to ride, making them particularly helpful for anybody who would like to become more fit, but who may need to gradually and carefully ease into increased physical activity,” according to chapter three of The Complete Electric Bike Buyer’s Guide.

“Electric bikes, therefore, may provide an especially helpful way to exercise for those who fall into the following categories: recovering from an injury or illness, looking for a low-impact workout, elderly cyclists, people who are new to working out, [or individuals] returning to physical activity after a prolonged period of inactivity,” the guide concluded.

Put simply, riding an electric bike is a relatively easy way to get physical activity, and what is easy is also more likely to be done, so that an electric bike may even encourage some American baby boomers to get physical activity.

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