Peloton is one of the most popular brands of indoor cycles in the market. The company behind this came into being in 2012 and, in 8 years, has established itself into its current popularity. And although these indoor cycles are marketed to all age groups, senior people seem to have a lot of confusion about whether or not these are good for them.
Pelotons are a good way to exercise for people of all age groups, seniors included. Seniors who have been exercising before they got their peloton bike can start using them without any concern whatsoever. Seniors who aren’t in the habit of working out can take a test to find out their suitability.
In this article, we will explore this topic in depth. We will also look into the test (known as Matt Wilpers’ FTP Test) that we mentioned.
Peloton for Seniors
If the right precautions are taken, Peloton bikes can be a good source of workout for seniors. They can be a great way to maintain one’s fitness in the older years. Research shows that cycling 4 miles (6.5 km) per day can decrease a senior person’s risk of contracting coronary heart disease by 50%.
A peloton bike can be more suitable for seniors than outdoor forms of exercise. Being an indoor exercising tool, one can stop at any time when fatigued. Fatigue is one of the biggest concerns for any senior person partaking in physical activity.
Despite some concerns, Peloton cycling is a good source of exercise for an elderly person. Cycling regularly can, in fact, help add to one’s overall life expectancy. Furthermore, research has linked an overall decline in stress and depression with regular working out. This is of particular importance to senior citizens as they are often the silent victims of many mental health problems.
So getting a Peloton cycle will not only do good to a senior person’s health, but it will also do good to their mental health.
How to Use a Peloton Cycle as a Senior
The key to using a peloton bike efficiently and safely as a senior person is to keep the cycling sessions to a minimum. Just under an hour a day should suffice. This, however, should not just include cycling. You should start off with a warm-up session and end with a cool-down session. Together these should make almost half of your entire workout session.
Once you’re all stretched with the warm-up, get on the bike and then start easy, gradually increasing your power as you approach the end of your session. One might feel tempted to test their limits. But as a senior person, one should take extra care not to get tempted into this. You can always gradually increase your output over time. That is the safer option.
How much one should exercise very much depends on the person. Fortunately, there is a test that can help one determine this.
Matt Wilpers’ FTP Test
Let us now talk about Matt Wilpers’ FLP Test. The FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power. This test determines how much power a person could sustain when they’re working at their particular threshold level. In simpler terms, this is the highest power a cyclist (indoor or outdoor) can steadily maintain without feeling any signs of fatigue.
In the context of testing Peloton’s suitability for seniors, Matt Wilpers’ FLP Test can help seniors determine what intensity they should be cycling in. Determining your FLP will let you know how much and how long you should be working out on your Peloton bike in order to avoid any adverse effects.
You don’t need to go to a lab or get any fancy equipment in order to measure your FTP. There are numerous ways you can do this in your home. FTP tests come in various forms, viz. the 5-minute test, the 8-minute test, the 20-minute test, the 30-minute test, the ramp test, etc.
Let us look at one of the most popular tests.
The 20-Minute FTP Test
Using the 20-minute test, seniors can determine how much workout in the Peloton bike is good for them.
This test basically records a person’s highest average power within a 20-minute timespan. Before you jump right into the test, you will need to perform a basic warm-up routine. Ensuring that you follow a defined 10-15 minute warm-up routine is key as this can influence your FTP.
Set the timer for 5-7 minutes and do some basic stretches. Make sure you stretch every part of your body. Once you’re done, set the timer for another 5-7 minutes. You will be doing some aerobic warm-ups here. These include jumping, jogging, etc.
Once you’re finished with the warm-up, make sure you will not be disturbed for another 20 minutes.
Now, you get on your Peloton bike and get pedaling. Your peloton bike will show you your wattage. The best strategy in determining your FTP accurately is to start off easy and gradually build up your speed. What do you think your FTP will be? It is wiser to start off with a lower estimate so you can avoid having to stop before the end of the 20-minute period.
Matt Wilpers recommends that you divide the 20 minute period into 4 quarters of 5 minutes each. Remember, the object of the test is to determine your average wattage over the 20 minute period. So your best bet is to start off easy and gradually increase your power in each quarter.
At the end of the 20-minute period, check your average wattage. But this isn’t your final FTP score. FTP is the “Functional Threshold Power” you can maintain for a period of one hour. So you should be decreasing your average power from the 20-minute period by at least 5% in order to arrive at your final FTP score.
How to Interpret the Test Result
Here is how the FTP looks for an average male:
- FTP below 260: 49%
- FTP between 260 and 270: 6.7%
- FTP over 270: 44.3%
FTP per kilo for an average male:
- FTP below 3.4W/kg: 49%
- FTP between 3.4W/kg and 3.6W/kg: 10%
- FTP over 3.6W/kg: 41%
Here is how the FTP looks for an average female:
- FTP below 200: 46%
- FTP between 200 and 210: 10%
- FTP over 210: 44%
FTP per kilo for an average female:
- FTP below 3.2W/kg: 47%
- FTP between 3.2W/kg and 3.4W/kg: 45%
- FTP over 3.4W/kg: 8%
A senior person may fall in either one of these categories depending on how much past experience they have with cycling and/or working out in general. If they fall within the average or above-average category, that proves that Peloton is perfectly good for them.
A senior person with a below-average FTP should work out with precautions. It is worth remembering that one can always start slow and then gradually build up one’s intensity over time. You can keep taking new FTP tests every 3-6 months to check your progress. Start easy.
A Peloton bike is a great source of all body workout. While it is perfectly fine for most seniors to use, it is still wise to test one’s FTP before starting out to see where one stands. A senior person with a below-average FTP should think twice about intense workout sessions, as it could lead to some unwarranted problems.
But in general, a Peloton bike can be a great way to maintain one’s shape in the older years. Research has shown that cycling just 4 miles (or 6.5 km) per day can decrease a senior person’s risk of coronary heart disease by over 50%.