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  1. #1
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Best riding for general fitness ?

    So, for those of us who primarily want to stay in shape, avoid a heart attack, and keep our weight down... What kind of riding is best and is doing stuff like intervals bad/dangerous in any way? Is there danger in driving our heart rates up? Long slower rides better than shorter more intense rides?

  2. #2
    Team Poseur Metric Man's Avatar
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    An hour a day in zone 3 will do wonders for you.
    The thoughts and opinions expressed by this poster are his own and should not be misconstrued as gospel. They are and were not meant to inflame, enrage or otherwise tick anyone off, usually. ©
    2012 Ti Motobecane with SRAM Red 2013~2008 Trek Madone with SRAM Force~2010 Specialized Hardrock 29er~2006 Trek 4300~Garmin 800 CTR
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  3. #3
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I think the standard Eddy Merckx quote applies. "Ride lots".
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  4. #4
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    My credo is, that which does not kill you makes you stronger.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

  5. #5
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I sound like a broken record here, and this is pretty basic, but here are my thoughts.

    The best riding is the riding which gets one out riding, and that generally - for most folks - is riding that provides pleasure and fun. IMHO and experience, some folks who ride for "fitness" - etc., don't ride for very long because they have not found the niche that fits who they are in bicycling.

    For me, that is getting out regularly on fun trails, seeing and appreciating nature, meeting and chatting with folks. However, for others it is racing, pace lines and competing and challennging themselves, or commuting, or time trials, or cyclo cross or touring. All are good, all will keep you in better shape that sitting in front of the Tube.

    I would not last more than one day at bicycling if racing was my activity. I have lasted 12 years at what I enjoy doing as described above. Therefore, what, at age 70, has kept my blood pressure down and my cholesterol way below 200, etc., etc., is the very fact that I bicycle, period - or it could be another activity, such as swimming - which I also do and enjoy. These motivations are likely to change over time, also.

    I know that seems simple and doesn't have any charts or graphs. My axiom is - if you don't enjoy it - over a longer period of time - you won't do it. If you won't do it, you don't get the benefits,

    Sorry to be so simplistic!!
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-29-10 at 06:56 PM.
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  6. #6
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    First off, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. I see that disclaimer posted before every fitness show on TV. No one on the internet can judge you or your ability to perform at any level.

    That said, we as human machines can improve throughout our life. The body does adapt to exercise stress though more gradually as we age. But you must understand that the body quickly gets used to a certain effort and if you don't change what you do once in a while that improvement will stall. So, I feel a best approach is to mix it up both in how you ride, how often you ride, the intensity you ride and when you rest. I would also recommend cross training with some weight bearing activity such as hiking and light weight lifting.

    Only you can decide how much is too much. We are all capable of much more than we think but there are significant mental hurdles to overcome. Keeping it fun is the secret to long term participation. And remember, exercise is the fountain of youth. Stay thirsty my friend! LOL

  7. #7
    "Chooch" ciocc_cat's Avatar
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    I've decided that while "junk miles" may not hurt, but they don't necessarily help. These days I stress "quality over quantity" when I'm training, and I've noticed an improvement. YMMV.
    "A bicycle built by a frame builder has the soul of the builder. A mass produced frame does not have soul. It doesn't know anyone." - Giovanni "Ciocc" Pelizzoli.
    “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” - Benjamin Franklin
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  8. #8
    A Mountaineering thing Hillbasher's Avatar
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    If you live near the mountains, or even hills, ride them. It will make you the strongest rider you can be. You will notice flat rides being so much easier.

  9. #9
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Getting my heart rate up keeps me alive.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
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    2014 or 2015 CAAD 10 3 coming soon. Decision time.

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  10. #10
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    To improve my stamina I push to the point of being able to pedal and still carry on a conversation.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    If you want to get fit---Get a mountain bike- ride it offroad up on the hills on the rough ground- in the wind the rain and the snow-----And set yourself a goal for a years time of the hardest ride you can think of---And train hard for it.

    2002 and I was just about to give up mountain biking after 12 years and go to the softer option of road riding. I'd had a couple of years of illness and pushing myself to the limit was not there and I was not enjoying it. Kill or Cure time so I set myself a goal of the hardest ride I had ever done in my life. 100 miles offroad in 1 day.That was in November. A full winter of Riding lots on the hills- Down to the Gym twice a week- extra rides in the evenings for 30 miles offroad and the ride was done in June 2003. It was hard but I did it. Couldn't believe it possible so I did it again in 2004/5 and 6.

    So set yourself a goal of the hardest ride you can find for next year- And train for it. Not sugessting offroad- as not everyone enjoys that- but make certain that for you it will be a hard ride.

    So my suggestion is as someone said-Quality miles--But the more of them you can do- The fitter you will become. But don't forget the Smiles either--Enjoy the riding- any riding
    Last edited by stapfam; 08-30-10 at 12:34 AM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    I've been using a heart monitor and have lost about 60lbs. I ride for fun but I do work at keeping my heart rate in a reasonably high place, aerobic but at the higher end. I'm 59 and a few months ago I entered a fun race, doing a 15 mile leg as part of a team. I pushed pretty hard and at the end of my section I had a small stroke. Lost some vision in one eye. Just lucky it wasn't worse. Now I'm encouraged by my doc to continue riding aerobically but I've been advised to not work so hard as to raise my heart rate near its' max. My max hr is something near 172 and now I keep my riding rate at a comfortable 146 for the most part. I find a HR monitor very useful to both encourage me to push a bit more when I start to daydream and to tone it down when I'm feeling tough and I push past 155. Time in the saddle is good anyway you do it, but making it good aerobic time is important to gaining fitness...and aerobic time doesn't have to be stressful at all.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
    So, for those of us who primarily want to stay in shape, avoid a heart attack, and keep our weight down... What kind of riding is best and is doing stuff like intervals bad/dangerous in any way? Is there danger in driving our heart rates up? Long slower rides better than shorter more intense rides?
     
    Serious questions. Too serious to rely on forum snippets. Two suggested books are linked below.
     
    The first book is from the popular literature and is excellent. Easy to read and provides over-all guidelines. It also provides a strong basis for the benefits of exercise.

    It takes more than the bike. Weights are critical.

    The second book is a science text book in beginning physiology. Not so readable, but the data curves (real data and not surveys) clearly show the benefits and the risks of strenuous physical activity. Risks are expressed as risk of death from all causes (vs sedentary) and risk of death while exercising compared to being at rest for different levels of fitness.

    I used Google to get some definitions where I wanted more depth as I have no background in the subject matter. However, important to know information is understandable with out having to know much of the jargon.

    I have spent some $250.00 on exercise/nutrition/health physiology books over the last three years. This was my first and is the simplest to read with meaningful real data rather than just opinion/theory.

    The used books are better values.
     
    Al
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Younger-Next-Year-Strong-Beyond/dp/076114773X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1283195295&sr=8-1
     
    http://www.amazon.com/Physical-Activity-Health-Claude-Bouchard/dp/0736050922/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283195412&sr=1-1

  14. #14
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Individual physiology is so unique that it would be rather difficult to determine what is "best". What works for one may not work for another. In addition, staying in shape is a somewhat relative term. What I think being in shape is might be laughed at by some of the more hard core racers on this forum. I tend to think that Denver has hit an important point. If you like it, you're more likely to do it. If you are serious, a coach or trainer to help establish goals might be worth the time and expense.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  15. #15
    Grumpy Old Bugga europa's Avatar
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    Make your riding a part of your lifestyle.

    In my case, I'm still working dammit - library cataloguer, does that ring someone's bell on here? Anyways, I commute by bike. I live 10 km from work, which isn't long enough, so I increased the ride to 18 km. I've recently pushed it out to 30 km. Mind you, I had a cheat in that my son was driving the car to school, catching the bus home and I only had to ride to his school to get the car, a nice 6 km ride at the end of the day. He's now got his own car (ahh, the joys of teenage freedom) so I'm going to have to ride home as well, but that's cool because it fits in with another step up in my riding program.

    So, just by having the bike as part of my lifestyle, I get a pretty fair bit of riding done ... and if ever I'm too tired/lazy to ride to work, I just take one of the shorter routes or **gasp** the car. It also means that on weekends, I can ride for pleasure rather than having to 'do training'.

    The long ride? Part of it is along the beach front, which is a nice reward for the extra distance. The fact that I feel better at work helps too.

    The trick is to work the ride into your normal lifestyle. It's like diet - dieting doesn't work because you won't stick to it but if you eat an overall healthy diet ...

    Richard
    I had a good bike ... so I FIXED it

  16. #16
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Whatever is convenient to you so you can ride more. I have a nice loop that leaves from my garage, loops around a couple of nearby neighborhoods, with some decent short hills. One lap is 15 miles, two laps are 30, etc. The more convenient the ride, the more you will ride.

    +1 Allows you to build it into your routine.

  17. #17
    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I think the standard Eddy Merckx quote applies. "Ride lots".
    And look out for cars.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  18. #18
    MWS
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    I started cycling back in April because its the only exercise I've found that I can do. I have Lupus. If I walk very far my feet start swelling. If I use my hands very much they start swelling. Last winter I was on a Lupus forum and everyone was recomending exercise for autoimmune diseases. I explained my situation and one fellow told me to get a bicycle, the bike would not cause swelling of the hands and feet. April it finally warmed up so I purchased my first bicycle since my childhood. That fellow was right, no swelling. I've cycled over 1400 miles since April and I'm loving it. I've lost weight and my colesterol level has dropped. Still have the Lupus and I still get sick but life is a lot better. I met another rider on the local bike trail last week in the same situation I'm in. He has Lupus and rides. Tomorrow we are loading our bikes up and driving up to Virginia to ride part of the New River Trail. I'm grateful I discovered cycling. Its greatly improved the quality of my life.

  19. #19
    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    ^^^^Ooh, you'll like that trail. Very, very nice ride.

    The old shot tower is a must stop and explore.

    BTW did you know the New River is one of the oldest rivers, geologically speaking, in the world? Notice how far down in the granite your are as you ride along.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  20. #20
    MWS
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    ^^^^Ooh, you'll like that trail. Very, very nice ride.

    The old shot tower is a must stop and explore.

    BTW did you know the New River is one of the oldest rivers, geologically speaking, in the world? Notice how far down in the granite your are as you ride along.
    We are definitely going to check out the Shot Tower, I love history. I've also read the New River is the only river in the world that flows north.

  21. #21
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWS View Post
    We are definitely going to check out the Shot Tower, I love history. I've also read the New River is the only river in the world that flows north.
    Rivers That Flow North
    (actually downhill) in a northerly direction


    THE FACTS:
    Unless the land it totally flat, rivers of water run downhill. The vast percentage of rivers on the planet flow in a southerly direction because the source (usually in the mountains) is to the north of the mouth.
    If the source of a river is at a higher elevation than the mouth, that river will run from the source to the mouth. However, if that (higher) source is to the south of the mouth, that river will then flow to the north (downhill).
    Below is a partial list of rivers (length listed when known) that do just that. We haven't listed rivers that run to the northwest, or rivers that don't meet the exact requirements.

    Athabasca Alberta, Canada, 765 miles
    Bann Northern Ireland
    Bighorn Wyoming and Montana, USA, 336 miles
    Cauca Colombia, 597 miles
    Deschutes Oregon, USA, 250 miles
    Eel Northern California, USA, 78 miles
    Erne Ireland and Northern Ireland, 60 miles
    Essequibo Guyana, 600 miles
    Genesee New York, USA, 144 miles
    Jordan Utah, USA, 45 miles
    Lena Russian Federation, 2735 miles
    Little Bighorn, Wyoming and Montana, USA, 80 miles
    Magdalena Colombia, 1062 miles
    Mojave Southern California, USA, 100 miles
    Monongahela Eastern USA, 128 miles
    New Virginia and West Virginia, USA, 255 miles
    Niagara Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, 39 miles.
    Nile Africa, 4150 miles
    Ob Russian Federation, 2289 miles
    Oswego New York, USA, 24 miles
    Otter Creek Vermont, USA, 75 miles
    Pend Oreille Washington, USA, 62 miles
    Red Minnesota, North Dakota, USA (into Canada), 318 miles
    Richelieu Quebec, Canada, 208 miles
    Saginaw Michigan, USA, 20 miles.
    Saint Johns Florida, USA, 275 miles
    San Pedro Mexico (into Arizona), 142 miles
    Shennandoah Virginia and West Virginia, USA, 55 miles
    Wilamette Oregon, USA, 188 miles
    Wallkill New Jersey, USA, length unknown
    Yenisey Russian Federation, 2548 miles
    Youghiogheny Eastern USA, 151 miles
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  22. #22
    commuter/noob roadie
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    you might want to pick up a computer if you haven't yet...get one with cadence....cannot stress that enough. It is the single thing that keeps my pace where i want to be, especially when i get dog tired and lazy, and start to slack off.
    exercise efficiently, your knees and joints will thank you in 20 years

  23. #23
    Crispy Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MWS View Post
    We are definitely going to check out the Shot Tower, I love history. I've also read the New River is the only river in the world that flows north.
    Well it has some unique properties but it's not alone in flowing north. There's that other really old river, the Nile.

    Here's a link to the Wiki.

    Edit: I see DF noted this also.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

  24. #24
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Well it has some unique properties but it's not alone in flowing north. There's that other really old river, the Nile.

    Here's a link to the Wiki.

    Edit: I see DF noted this also.
    I'm pretty fast!
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    So you want to be fit do you? And you want to use bicycling to achieve and maintain the fitness?

    First off bicycling by itself won't give overall fitness. It will give fitness to certain body function groupls while essentially ignoring others. So, you must include some gym time for exercise and weight lifting. Getting the services of a knowledgable trainer who doesn't have different standards for old people vs. young people is very helpful.

    Any exercise is good. More is better. Harder and longer is better yet. The more modern science knows the more it comes back to the rules of my youth: >As long as you can breathe and talk you are ok. >Every once in a while push it to the point you can't breathe and talk at the same time. >Most of the probem is in the mind, not the body so find some way to strengthen the weak one of the pair.

    Those three rules combined with a spectrum of exercises will get you a long way in fitness.

    There is a current fad that is counter productive; to keep you exercise heart rate down to some percentage of maximum. Or, to be afraid of exceeding some specified heart rate. Think about it. To go fast or strong or long your muscles need nourishment. That nourishment is food and oxygen. When they are straining they need lots of food and oxygen. To keep your heart rate down deprives them of what they need for maximum performance. So, don't worry about heart rate except to work to increase its' maximum rate and to, like any other machine, not run the heart at maximum all the time.

    Following these general rules over the past couple years I've taken off 25 pounds(20 almost immediately two years ago), increased my maximum heart rate 20bpm and my longest ride from a struggling 10 miles to 65 miles with the limit being my sore butt, not the rest of my body. I have also developed enough strength to climb hills that before were more like walls than hills. I'm not unique. Many have gone this route. But it all started with a desire and enough sense to follow the time tested rules rather than some fad.

    By the way: Diet is as important as exercise. High protein, low fat, lots of fruit and veggies. Rest is the third leg of the stool: I can tell the difference between general malaise and muscle fatigue. If it is muscle fatigue I rest some more. If in my mind I kick myself in the butt and off I go, the harder the better.

    This has worked for generations and it works today.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

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