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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 03-10-05, 12:01 PM   #1
Scottb
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51 and starting to ride after 25 years

Hi All. I just joined to be a part of this forum.

Was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago with Thyroid cancer. After thyroid removal and 2 radiation treatments, I have gained 50 lbs. The thyroid is involved with metabolism, energy, etc, so made it hard to do anything until they got through with all the tests and medication adjustments. The Lazy Boy just got too comfortable. Finally got a clear body scan, so things are starting to smooth out.

I had to change jobs, so life is a little more sedentary (sitting in front of a computer all day). A new Dr started pushing a lot of pills at me for blood pressure and the like, so I figured it was time to start doing something about the weight and stamina, now that I can finally do something about it. I acquired a Scott solid frame Mountain bike about 3 weeks ago to try to tackle the hills and dirt roads around my house. I am up to about 2 miles a day. Doesn't sound like much, but there is about 1,500' difference up and down in the loop that I ride; plenty enough to get the heart rate up. I use to commute by bike about 12 miles a day, but that was on flat ground and 25 years ago!!! I had forgotten what the burn in the legs felt like.

As soon as the snow is off of the ground (which won't be too long, pretty unusual early spring), I hope to get up into the National Forest and try some of the miles and miles of trails that are available to us here. Hopefully, the training around the house will get me in good enough shape to try some of the easier ones. Won't push it too hard though.

Any of you have any advice for someone who is trying to stave off old age and the onslaught of pill pushers? I don't smoke or drink, take vitamins and some herbal supplements, but getting out in the fresh air and feeling the wind in the face seems to be the best medicine so far. Just don't seem to be dropping any weight. It is amazing how easy it is to put on and how hard it is to take off!! I keep telling myself that it is converting fat to muscle, but it is still frustrating to get on the scale and have it laugh at me.

Thanks for listening and this forum sure helps to know that there are others who get on a bike at my age.
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Old 03-10-05, 12:08 PM   #2
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if you ride an hour a day, change will come
or, ride two hours every other day
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Old 03-10-05, 12:22 PM   #3
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What you should do initially is whatever is comfortable for you. Don't go by milage though, but work at getting yourself up to an hours exercise on the bike each day. Keep your breathing hard, so that you are definitely working the cardio side, and if you can break out into a sweat, so much the better.
An hour may seem long initially, but the quicker you can get up to that, you will find that this length of time of exercise, providing you are working well, will start the lbs to disappear.
That 12 miles commute will seem a doddle within a few months, but you will have to go through some pain to get there. Legs and lungs seem obvious, but the backside the shoulders and neck will hurt too. On the backside, don't think it is just the saddle, it takes time for the muscle to become immune, so give it a few months before spending money on a new one.
Now if you find a new pair of legs going cheap, let me know as mine are getting a bit worn at present.
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Old 03-10-05, 01:03 PM   #4
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You will also lose weight (surprisingly) if you do some resistance exercises - i.e., weight lifting and similar.

My wife has a thyroid problem, and, despite some pretty Herculean efforts (she walks 4 miles per day, bicycles, eats simply, etc.) can't lose weight.

Yesterday we were at the endocronologist about her thyroid and weight, and that was exactly their recommendation - start pumping the weights.

I do it all the time and love it. We have a gym in our home, and also belong to a gym, but she does not really like resistance training. But, I guess she is going to have to do that if she really wants to lose about 20 pounds.

Welcome to the 50+ forum. Lots and lots of folks here started or returned to bicycling in their 50's. I am 65, my wife 67, and we started just a few years ago (I was 58).

Good luck. Keep at it until it becomes a habit.
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Old 03-10-05, 01:06 PM   #5
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Looks like you're off to a great start. You might consider joining a bike club for the social aspects, which can also be important.
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Old 03-10-05, 01:32 PM   #6
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It will take time to tolerate longer rides as the body needs to adjust and you need to discover how the bike needs to be adjusted for your fit. During that period, more short trips will help get you there. It is ok to get tired or to have a general all over ache, but specific localized pain may indicate a fit adjustment is needed. Just don't overdo it and set yourself back with a painful injury! Sooner or later, a trainer might help you get some pedal time in without having to deal with the weather. My neighbor went through thyroid cancer and it took him several years to get the body worked around to steady state but he is just fine now five years out. My best wishes to you in the quest!
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Old 03-10-05, 01:45 PM   #7
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Ride for the joy of riding first. The health benefits and the weight loss will just happen. If you ride for health and weight, you might never find joy.
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Old 03-10-05, 01:57 PM   #8
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I look for destinations and errands I can do on my bike instead of in a car.
I find at least one each day.
When I started riding again, I didn't even try to make it to some destinations.
I settled for a quarter of the way, or half way.
Once I realized I could reliably make a round trip, I actively sought out excuses to make the trip.
For example, going to the pharmacy for pills, or to the grocery store for small items.
Also, various appointments where I only needed to get myself there on time.
By thinking this way, I eventually found myself driving somewhere and realizing I could have ridden my bike.
It starts, though, with actively looking for excuses to ride, and then the rides will start materializing.
Presently, I will not let a day go by without a ride, no matter how silly the excuse to go somewhere.
However, I seem to need a destination.
Sometimes, I will ride my bike instead of making a phone call.
In other words, I could call a local store and ask if they have something, but instead I will ride my bike to the store and talk to the sales person face to face.
It all has to do with creating excuses/reasons to ride at least once a day.
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Old 03-10-05, 02:39 PM   #9
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Lots of good advice above. I would add- don't forget "easy day, hard day". Every other day I ride pretty hard, lots of huffing and puffing. In between those days I stay at a comfortable pace, which allows me to recover from my hard days.
Best of luck on your big comeback!
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Old 03-10-05, 03:28 PM   #10
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I hadn't even thought of weights....we have an old bench with rubber resistance bands. Maybe I'll have to dig it out and see what kind of condition it is in. I've never really liked weight training, but if it will show results....why not?
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Old 03-10-05, 03:57 PM   #11
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My bike came with bar ends on the handlebars while my wife saddles and rides the horse. We stopped for a rest and a drink of water with me straddling the bike. The horse reached down to see if I had any 'treats' in my pocket and got his halter caught in the bar extensions. His 1st impulse was to pull up to get away. YOWWWCH! The next thing I know I am on the ground rolling away from flying hooves and my wife is on the ground trying to catch her breath. The horse ended up a quarter mile away and both of us trying to get up. Nothing broken, but bruised and sore, wife is still on pain pills for her back. Forget getting hung up on branches and bushes, I have to watch out for horses!!! Still finished the ride and didn't lose any more days because of it, but the bruises colored up pretty good.
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Old 03-10-05, 05:30 PM   #12
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It's difficult to lose weight by cycling alone. Problem is that you'll probably increase your calorie uptake as well so it's all a wash. Try to excercise the upper body muscles. Even light weights will help. Muscle tissue continues to decline with age and using weights will slow down that process. Muscle burns calories even when you're at rest.

You'll also need to cut your caloric intake. I see many, many older and 'fit' cyclist who aren't all that slim. They're taking in as many calories as they burn and maybe a few more. If you cut your calories by 500 per day, you'll lose a pound a week.

Try this out. It's free.

http://www.fitday.com/
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Old 03-10-05, 05:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox
I look for destinations and errands I can do on my bike instead of in a car.
I find at least one each day.
When I started riding again, I didn't even try to make it to some destinations.
I settled for a quarter of the way, or half way.
Once I realized I could reliably make a round trip, I actively sought out excuses to make the trip.
For example, going to the pharmacy for pills, or to the grocery store for small items.
Also, various appointments where I only needed to get myself there on time.
By thinking this way, I eventually found myself driving somewhere and realizing I could have ridden my bike.
It starts, though, with actively looking for excuses to ride, and then the rides will start materializing.
Presently, I will not let a day go by without a ride, no matter how silly the excuse to go somewhere.
However, I seem to need a destination.
Sometimes, I will ride my bike instead of making a phone call.
In other words, I could call a local store and ask if they have something, but instead I will ride my bike to the store and talk to the sales person face to face.
It all has to do with creating excuses/reasons to ride at least once a day.

Good for you! I love this kind of testimonial.
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Old 03-10-05, 05:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark77
It's difficult to lose weight by cycling alone. Problem is that you'll probably increase your calorie uptake as well so it's all a wash. Try to excercise the upper body muscles. Even light weights will help. Muscle tissue continues to decline with age and using weights will slow down that process. Muscle burns calories even when you're at rest.

You'll also need to cut your caloric intake. I see many, many older and 'fit' cyclist who aren't all that slim. They're taking in as many calories as they burn and maybe a few more. If you cut your calories by 500 per day, you'll lose a pound a week.

Try this out. It's free.

http://www.fitday.com/

I agree. I see a large number of folks, myself often included, whose caloric rewards exceeds calories lost from an exercise campaign. However, many hours of keeping one's hands on the handlebars does tend to keep them out of the refrigerator.
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Old 03-10-05, 08:11 PM   #15
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Welcome, Scottb. It's just under 6 months since I started riding. It had been 40 years. I'm about to turn 54. I had quickly put on 30 pounds a year earlier when I quit smoking, and only lost 5 of it in 11 months of stationary bike riding. I ride 100 miles a week these days, and lost 11 pounds these last 6 months, although I seem to have hit a wall there; haven't lost anything in the last 3 weeks. Even if your weight goals prove difficult, the riding will have you feeling great in short order.
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Old 03-17-05, 07:52 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark77
It's difficult to lose weight by cycling alone.
I don't know .. I've lost 10 Kilos (20 something pounds I believe) in 6 months of just riding. On a good week I manage 3 or 4 two hour rides, on a bad one (no time, bad weather etc.) I just do a few sessions on my rollers. I haven't intentionally done anything to change my eating habits, but maybe I'm slightly more aware of what I eat given that i've drifted into a more "fitness" mindset.

B
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Old 04-17-05, 04:56 AM   #17
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Hi I'm from Australia. Had two major Heart attacks a year ago! I started riding (because I hate walking). I ride about 20 Kms a day, doesnt sound much but I ride to the pool then swim about 1km.

I lost heaps of weight, blood pressure down, choleserol down and Tri-glicerides???? down.

Been great since I started riding.

Keep it up.
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Old 04-17-05, 12:06 PM   #18
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same sort of situation:
post operative cancer removal at age 51
haven't really ridden for about 30 years
i am currently 53 and happy to say that I have returned to the sport
not only do i immensly enjoy my time riding i also successfully compete in local races, accumulating trophies.

my advice: just do it and enjoy doing it
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Old 04-20-05, 01:12 PM   #19
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58 and returned to riding 3 years ago - when I ride, all is right with the world!
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