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Thread: Where to start?

  1. #1
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    I am new here, and I hope to purchase a bike this weekend, a real newbie to this, but no spring chicken. I am almost 49, female, and very out of shape after changing careers a few years ago to working at home on my computer doing medical transcription. I love it, but it's been rough on my body and circulatory system. My question is where to start training before hopping on the bike and how much do I need?

    I have been doing "naddadarnedthing" for exercise, though I do have a Pilate's Reformer and treadmill in my office. I know I have had good results in strengthening my core on the Reformer in the past. I don't have to be "buff" to hop on the bike the first time though, do I? Would a 30-minute Reformer session twice daily, and short periods on the dreaded treadmill working up, be enough to at least prepare me for minimal rides at first? I guess I could also take the dog out for walks, another exercise option..

    I'm starting from scratch exercise-wise, but I'm determined, and I am already making healthier choices in my diet. It's not like I'm obese, but I could stand to lose weight, reshape and tone. I'm not a fanatic about pounds though, because I know that will happen naturally. I am more concerned with building lean muscle and strengthening, which I'm sure will help "reshape" my body. Heart health is also important of course. I had a pretty severe heart attack at 40, and I've had three stents placed since then. I also have a heart aneurysm, which was found while a stent was being placed, so it's important that I keep a good BP to prevent problems in that area. Doc says, "No more stents Missy, next surgery will be open heart so you'd better get it together." Well, I'm finally listening!

    Another health issue recently uncovered is hypothyroidism and thyromegaly, which I'm controlling with meds. My energy level is improving, but I really have to push myself to get started.

    Hopefully, the above-mentioned options for exercise will be sufficient to limber me up at least before attempting to ride for the first time in years, many years! Do ya think?

  2. #2
    Pat
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    With your cardiovascular history, you should take the elementary and obvious precautions, but I am sure that you know that.

    You really do not have to do ANYTHING before starting with cycling if you go about it right.

    I know a lady who was over weight and incredibly out of shape. She used to get her husband to drop her off right in front of the supermarket because walking across the parking lot was too much for her. Well, apparently, she decided to do something about that. She got a bike and would ride on the local bike trail for 100 yards. Then she would stop and catch her breath and drink some water and start again. After awhile, she was riding at a moderate speed without stopping. She started riding with others who rode the trail. I met her at an organized bike ride and she and her buddies had formed "team tortose" and they were determined to ride the century no matter how slow. They did it too. Everyone of the ladies finished which is more than I can say about some of the young studs who rode that day. The trick is to not push yourself too hard too soon. Also, do not expect big changes really fast. I find it helps to do aerobic exercise as many times per week as possible. Four times per week is a good number. Working out just on weekends is not a good thing. If you keep at it regularly and keep doing it, the fitness will come.

    You could try cross training also such as alternating cycling with brisk walking or some other form of aerobic exercise.

    Another thing, if you want to keep at it, keep it enjoyeable. People who go out and do "no pain, no gain" on each and every ride usually do not last long unless they are a bit masochistic.

    For myself, I started riding when I was in my late thirties, I was over weight and way out of shape. My first rides were just short ones around the neighborhood and I gradually increased the distance and speed.

    Good luck to you.

    Pat

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    Thanks Pat.

    I do plan on being realistic with my goals, and my number one goal is to ENJOY. I'm starting just around the sub until I'm brave enough to venture out. I figure I'll go a little further each ride in order to scope out the riding conditions on each back road. I figure I should get to know them in the daytime before going out at night.

    I think I've tried every fad diet and pill and piece of equipment on earth (or close), so I know that sensible diet and exercise are the key to better health. I'm pretty realistic about weight loss and body changes and the time it takes for this to occur. I'm very patient, but I do plan to put forth an effort. I've been able to lose two to three pounds weekly just by making minor diet modifications without exercise. After sixty days on my Reformer, I started seeing little indents in my abs. My body responds to exercise fairly rapidly. Didn't take me a day to develop "flabby" and won't get rid of it in a day either, right? I just want to be the healthiest 50 I can be in 2007.

    I will definitely work on cross training. A brisk walk with my lab in the evening is very doable four nights a week, and I'll start tonight. He will just love it and is very good at keeping pace.

    I also have an "old" Richard Simmons tape that I really liked to get my heart rate up for thirty minutes. It has aerobics, stretching, cords, crunches, and I already have mat and cords. I'll stick it in and push play a few days a week. The Reformer is really relaxing to me, so I think it will be a good warm up with the focus on the core and upper body. I start seeing baby arm muscles pretty quickly, and it's great for my posture.

    When I get the nerve to ride a couple miles to the bike trails, I will hopefully meet some other female bikers, but I will do baby steps as you suggest and just be happy to ride around and smell the fresh air for a change. Once I can go that far to the trails and back, I might also sign up at Curves, which is on the way and take thirty there to do a round on their equipment. May meet some gals there too who ride.

    Right now, my legs hurt really bad from inactivity, knees too. I know that just a brisk walk like you suggest would be helpful to get the circulation going again, so I'm using that as a starting point today, and I'll be happy with anything I can do at this point. At least I'm doing something other than making excuses not to do something, eh?

    Have a great day, and thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    Senior Member pakole's Avatar
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    Thankfully cycling does not need a certain physical condiiton. I would say the way to get started is to start riding. I would also suggest finding someone nearby to ride, jog with you, or at least for moral support. It is really hard to break the will of two people at the same time. I would also suggest that you set goals based on non-stop distances, or pace instead of weight since your body will go through a transition that makes weight an inaccurate indicition of health improvement. I would also make my doctor heavily involved with my fitness. He might have some concerns that you did not consider. Lastly write down your improvements. Like the next time you jog, or ride, write down the longest non-stop distance, or the pace, and just keep track of it each week. The point of this is show for yourself that you are improving. Each week will reinforce why are you doing this and what you are doing. That is all I have. I hope this helps.
    ---
    Is morality determine by when no human is watching you or when no being is watching you? For if it is the latter, I can not be a moral person for I know God is with me each and every day.

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    Thanks, and I will be speaking with doc on the 20th of January. I'll have to call my cardiologist too. I think they will both approve and be happy, but I'll make sure.

    Will also record daily as you suggested.

  6. #6
    lillypad
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    I hope that you meant "immoral" pakole.

    -Lillypad

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    Hey y'all. Still waiting on the delivery ..ugh..

    I have already ordered a very nice new seat for it, as well as a good headlight, and I got a great deal on some new cycling shoes on Ebay (original $129, but I won the bid at $10.50 )

    Today I'm looking at mirrors, blinkies, mini tool and patch kit, and a mini pump. Picking up the extras as I run across good deals.

    I think I am going to need a rack to hang bags on the back. Are those expensive?

  8. #8
    lillypad
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    The racks aren't but the bags to go on them can be depending on the size and quality that you want. Some bikes are designed to accept racks (the bolt-on kind) and those that aren't can usually be fitted with one of the newer clamp-on-the-seatpost kind.

  9. #9
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    That's good to know, and you are right, the bags can be expensive, especially when looking for good waterproof pannier bags. My seat is a leather and suede, but the girl is giving me a nice gel cover for it. I 'm trying to keep "rain" in mind when purchasing, because I know we get a lot of rain here at times, and then we have the hurricane season too.

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