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Cycling after your 40´s

Reaching your forties and beyond generally comes with the joys of more wisdom, life experience and financial stability. However, it can also come with lower energy levels and stubborn fat around the waist! This is because your metabolism takes a serious drop, making it easier to pick up weight if you're not mindful of your lifestyle.

If you're looking for a physical activity option to help burn the calories and lower the risk of chronic diseases of lifestyle, cycling may be for you. The sport can effectively help maintain good cardiovascular health, as it gets your heart rate up, but is easier on your knees than running. This makes it an increasingly popular option for those hitting middle age.

While cycling can help combat the many health risks that come from inactivity, here are some factors to keep in mind when starting a new exercise regime in middle age.

1. As your heart and circulatory system ages it naturally slows down. It might not be much but it’s noticeable at 40. This typically results in a gradual tapering off of your performance times. You won’t feel like running your cardiovascular system up to the high levels that you did when you were 25. Recognize it for what it is and don’t let it bother you.

2. A loss of muscle mass and muscle tone can also affect your posture and bone density, so add back- and core-strengthening exercises to your fitness regime. It's especially important to focus on postural exercises if you cycle a lot, so work on stretching out your chest muscles and strengthening your upper and lower back muscles.

3. Reflexes slow with age, making accidents due to a deteriorating sense of balance more common. Pilates or yoga can help keep your neural system in tip-top shape.

4. It takes longer to warm up. You can’t jump on your bike and blast off the line like you did at 20. Popping, creaking, and strains are more common in joints and bones. It’s nothing to be overly concerned about though — just take more time warming up. If you’re experienced on the bike, your body should tell you when it’s ready to sprint or climb.

5. It takes longer to recover. You may have needed little recovery time after a ride at 25. But over 40 you may need to recharge after a long or hard ride. If you give yourself more recovery time between sessions, it will improve the quality of the next session. Not recovering properly can enhance the risk of injury. In addition, make sure you get enough sleep. This is a vital part of the recovery process. You can’t stay up all night anymore.

6. You will appreciate ride time more. The pressure on your available time seems to increase when cycling over 40. It can sometimes be hard to find the time for a decent ride. This makes you appreciate the time you have on the bike that much more. A full week working can leave you with precious little ride time, particularly in winter, and the time you do have in the week often finds you worn out from life and work. The time spent on your bike feel like unbridled freedom and you come back from a ride feeling mentally renewed.

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