Cycling is one of the things we most want to learn when we are kids: Get on two wheels, balance ourselves, and pedal away. Nothing compares to that first time we can ride down the driveway alone, without any hands steadying us. In that moment, we achieve something special: a feeling of freedom, of autonomy.
As we age, cars replace bikes as transportation while other sports and activities replace the exercise we got. Our memories of good times on two wheels fall into the rear-view mirror. It may be many years and we could be in peri-menopause before we even consider riding a bike again. But when we return to it, there are instant memories of why we loved it so much. This time we vow not to forget this time.
EXPLORING ON TWO WHEELS
We are all used to traveling to the same places on the same paths. The views never change from day to day. You could almost do it with your eyes closed. But the second you travel to the same places on a bicycle, it opens your senses to new sights, sounds, and smells.
And there is nothing like getting off the beaten path and exploring new areas and routes by bike. When you experience and enjoy new places, you expand your midlife curiosity. And curiosity leads to lifelong learning. There is nothing like lifelong learning to keep your brain sharp through the years.
GETTING OUTSIDE WITH FRIENDS
Riding your bicycle during peri-menopause gets you outside into the fresh air and sunshine, where you are likely to get a needed dose of Vitamin D. You’ll also be reducing stress, increasing your serotonin levels, and improving your sleep. And is there anything better than a breeze on your face?
Cycling with friends is a perfect way to catch up, discuss current events, or talk about your experiences with peri-menopause symptoms. Other singular sports can be lonely, but there are bicycle clubs across the United States meeting for rides and encouraging you to make new friends while living your best life.
DO IT AT ANY AGE
Unlike other sports, cycling is an activity that is enjoyable from the day you learn until the end. It is low impact, so it puts minimal stress on your joints. Also, it helps improve posture and overall balance and coordination, which decreases your fall risk.
You will never “age out” of the ability to ride a bike, even if you are post-menopausal. If you use it, you won’t lose it. And as we lose the ability to do other things with age, the ability to embrace the freedom of riding a bike can continue to keep us autonomous and in charge of ourselves.
CYCLING IS EXERCISE
Of course, cycling is exercise. It allows for low-impact work on your muscles and joints. It gets your heart rate up the faster or the harder you pedal, both of which help your overall cardiovascular fitness as you age. And as we know, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, so this exercise is crucial to our longevity.
This beautiful thing you learned to do when you were a little girl can bring you many years of pleasure and good health. And when everything else in your life feels overwhelming, it can bring a sense of freedom. So snap on your helmet, get on your bike, and find that freedom for yourself.