Academic journal article Generations

Biking Trek at Age 60-Plus

Academic journal article Generations

Biking Trek at Age 60-Plus

Article excerpt

My wife, Norma, and I use a common form of transportationthe bicycle-for recreation and fitness. We are in our late 60s, retired from fulltime employment and maintaining a full schedule of organizational and church activities. We continue to enjoy excellent health and take part in vigorous activities that many people who are younger have long since ceased.

Over the past three years, we have increased our emphasis on hiking. We use many of the bike trails in the area for day trips. But we've also taken our enthusiasm for hiking farther afield. In 2000, for example, we joined an ElderHostel group that spent two weeks on a bike trip through the southern half of The Netherlands. Daily trips of from twenty-five to forty-five miles included three to four tour stops at interesting places. We were expected to be able to maintain a pace of from twelve to fifteen miles per hour because of tight scheduling.

One man in our group was in his mid 80s. At home in Arizona, he said, he biked thirty-six miles a day and had been featured in TV travel ads for older people. Although he garnered special attention in Arizona, it was quite common to see Dutch men and women in their 60s and older riding their bikes. In fact, bikes are the major form of transportation in The Netherlands.

In 2001, Norma and I hiked part of Cape Cod in Massachusetts for a week and then joined an ElderHostel group for further hiking on the Cape and Nantucket.

Although we've focused our activities lately on hiking, we've kept physically active for decades. Since the 1970s, Norma has participated in aerobic dancing three times a week and walks on alternate days. I participated in 10K runs and marathons through my 50s and now take part in a regimen that includes swimming and using Nordic track and steps exercise machines. Bike routes of fourteen and eighteen miles through rolling countryside provide me the opportunity to "let it out."

With all of my aerobic activity, I use a training guide that provides a recommended maximum pulse rate for sustained physical activity. …

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