COTA Cycling: When, why and how?
Rides are held most Wednesdays, with riders meeting at a designated starting point at 10.00am (check current timetable – COTA Cycling Rides Program 2015 February – June ).
We lead rides on both metropolitan and country routes that are suitable for beginners and experienced riders. Melbourne’s Bike Paths provide some enjoyable and picturesque riding routes.
For more information call COTA Cycling telephone Janet Bennett 03 9853 9808, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COTA Cycling Leader honoured
Janet Bennett, leader of COTA’s Cycling group was honoured in May 2011 with a Victorian Government Minister for Health Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Bike riding is a social and enjoyable activity that can be incorporated easily into day-to-day life. It is suitable for all levels of ability. People start riding for their health and fitness, and often keep riding for the great company and enjoyment that riding provides. Bicycle riding is an appealing activity for seniors as it improves cardiovascular fitness while being low impact on the hips, knees and other joints.
Who can cycle?
There are no real age barriers to cycling. People of most fitness levels can cycle, slowly and gently if necessary.
It’s as easy as riding a bike! How often or far you ride depends on you, your fitness and your lifestyle.
Start to use your bike when you would otherwise have gone by car, bus, train or on-foot. New cyclists could start off by using the bike to ride a few hundred yards down the road to the shops or the post box, then gradually increase the distance they cover. In a few weeks aerobic fitness will have improved and you will be able to ride a few kilometres without feeling anything more than a little puffed.
Riding to the shops or work is one of the most time-efficient ways to incorporate regular exercise into your everyday routine. For the time you spend on the bike, you get your ‘daily dose’ and there is no need to find extra time to exercise.
But those bitten by the bike bug may choose to go leisure cycling where they cover 30-50 kms a day.
Benefits of Cycling
Riding a bicycle is an excellent way to exercise for any age but it has special benefits for older people:
- Weight bearing exercise, low impact, and is gentle on the joints
- It is easy to begin with short distances and build up slowly
- Is fun and enjoyable
- Is socially interactive
- Helps with stress reduction
- Helps control weight
- Naturally reduces risk of chronic disease
- A proven way to cardiovascular fitness, cycling reduces the risk of heart disease and helps in cases of asthma, depression, arthritis and hypertension
Cycling can help to maintain strength and coordination.
The muscles of the legs and buttocks do most of the work in cycling. Leg strength improves mobility by enabling us to get out of chairs more easily, and the strength and co-ordination that regular cycling brings makes us less likely to fall.
Cycling is good for your heart and health.
Everyday cycling, where the exercise leaves you a little puffed but not out of breath, is an effective and enjoyable form of aerobic exercise. This is the type of exercise that is most effective at promoting good health. Cycling reduces the risk of serious conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and the most common form of diabetes.
Cycling can help with weight management.
If done at sufficient intensity it can burn the energy supplied by a chocolate bar in an hour (about 300 calories). A 15-minute bike ride to and from the shop, on most days of the week burns off the equivalent of 5kgs of fat in a year.
Cycling can improve your mood.
Cycling can have positive effects on how we feel too. Moderate exercise has been found to reduce levels of depression and stress, improve mood and raise self-esteem.
Bicycle Network Victoria has some good maps of rides around Melbourne and Victoria.