Volume 26 (2016) Issue 6 Pages 307-314
Background: The health benefits of bicycling in older adults with mobility limitation (ML) are unclear. We investigated ML and functional capacity of older cyclists by evaluating their instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), intellectual activity, and social function.
Methods: On the basis of interviews, 614 community-dwelling older adults (after excluding 63 participants who never cycled) were classified as cyclists with ML, cyclists without ML, non-cyclists with ML (who ceased bicycling due to physical difficulties), or non-cyclists without ML (who ceased bicycling for other reasons). A cyclist was defined as a person who cycled at least a few times per month, and ML was defined as difficulty walking 1 km or climbing stairs without using a handrail. Functional capacity and physical ability were evaluated by standardized tests.
Results: Regular cycling was documented in 399 participants, and 74 of them (18.5%) had ML; among non-cyclists, 49 had ML, and 166 did not. Logistic regression analysis for evaluating the relationship between bicycling and functional capacity revealed that non-cyclists with ML were more likely to have reduced IADL and social function compared to cyclists with ML. However, logistic regression analysis also revealed that the risk of bicycle-related falls was significantly associated with ML among older cyclists.
Conclusions: The ability and opportunity to bicycle may prevent reduced IADL and social function in older adults with ML, although older adults with ML have a higher risk of falls during bicycling. It is important to develop a safe environment for bicycling for older adults.