Whether you’ve cycled through the generations or plan on taking up a new hobby, there’s nothing to stop you staying on the saddle as you enter the golden years. Here are some of our top tips for keeping fit at fifty and beyond.
- Keep your heart happy
Although the inevitable effects of time on the body might alter your physical resistance, that’s not to be put off from pursuing a new goal or amping up your current regime. But like any age, be sure to get regular check-ups from your GP to assess your fitness levels and adapt to any guidance. Whilst you might find it more work to push yourself as hard as you did before, being aware of your limits can help you to work around them.
2. Eat well
There are a million and one fad diets to follow, but what’s best for your body as a cyclist? Well, it’s all about calorie intake and when you eat what you eat. The first thing to celebrate when you take up cycling is that you’re essentially allowed to eat more. But before you run to the fridge and indulge in your favourite treat, be mindful of the good carbs vs. the naughty carbs! We’re talking a fistful of ‘slow-burn’ carbs with each meal, so an extra helping of whole grains, fruits or vegetables is a good place to start. During your ride, make sure to keep some supplies ‘on board’ just in case you stay out a little longer than planned, or find yourself struggling. Protein bars or isotonic gels are light to carry and will give you the quick fix you need to get you home.
3. Stretch it out
So, you’ve been for a check-up and done a grocery run to suit your newly set goals, what now? As with any sport, take a little time for some pre-exercise TLC to get you in good stead for the next part. Pilates and Yoga have been shown to go hand in hand as part of a cycling lifestyle, at any age. But specifically for those leaving their forties and entering the best years, stretching it out comes with added benefits.
4. Distance Vs. Persistence
Whilst you may notice a slight hit in how far you can climb or how fast you finish, distance travelled might actually improve with the consistency of your rides. It’s true what they say, slow and steady does win the race! In short, the more you cycle for the same length of time, your resistance will inevitably improve. This in turn can counter the inevitable decline in muscle mass, which means you could have the same amount of oxygen delivered to your muscles as a twenty year old whilst cycling, but in a different way.
5. Listen to your body
We often punish ourselves for not sticking to a schedule or shortening our rides, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t quite make the finish line. Listen to your body if it’s telling you to slow down, and make sure you take time to wind down once you’re off the bike. Muscle repair is essential at any age, so enjoy a ‘recovery drink’ (a protein blend is often advised), take a well-earned warm bath, and put your feet up. We know we don’t need any excuses either!