Here’s a great post in the “Cycling in the Peak District” blog explaining why cycling could be an answer to a lot of health problems in older age, including dementia. Even people who have not cycled before will get great benefits if they start to ride a bike regularly. Cycling is particularly useful since it can be much easier for people with creaky joints than walking.
Of course the big problem is that, if you are lucky enough to live near a safe cycle trail, like the ones in the Peak district, you will find this much easier than city dwellers. Just being able to cycle to the shops every day would make a great difference. It’s part of my routine now I’ve retired but I’m very used to the cut and thrust of city traffic and few older people are likely to start doing that in the conditions they see around them in most cities.
So when you see fit cyclists campaigning for safer conditions they aren’t just doing it for themselves. If older people were able to cycle as part of their daily lives, as they do in the Netherlands, the benefits to them and all of us would be huge. But until our society decides it must tame the traffic monster so neighbourhoods are safe for all ages to go about their daily business, most of us can continue to look forward to ageing much faster than we need to.