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Little help please

Old 11-04-04, 02:11 PM
  #1  
Clayton
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Little help please

I enjoy a 21 mile round trip commute. The terrain is rolling. Coming to work in the AM is fine but the ride home is often difficult. Coming to work I can usually average 18mph with out a problem but going home I'm lucky to hold 15.

My job is sedentary, requiring me to sit before a computer screen most of the day. By days end my legs are very stiff. During the summer they'ld loosen up quickly for the ride home but now during the winter with the temp between 25 and 35F they never loosen up. I understand that at age 52 I can expect some decrease in peripheral circulation which contributes to the swelling in my legs but I'm hoping there's something I can do to alleviate the stiffness.

Are any of you middle aged commuters experiencing the same problem, if so what do you do about it?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 11-04-04, 02:30 PM
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OhiOH
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Iím 51. Iíve always attributed it to: ďitís more up hill on the way homeĒ. Now you have me thinking. I hate that.
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Old 11-04-04, 02:49 PM
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I am not middle age, but at work I always try to get up and away from my computer every 30 min. And then I stretch before I leave.
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Old 11-04-04, 02:58 PM
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Ivan Hanz
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I'm not exactly middle-aged, but I hope to be someday. I would suggest tights, the type you can see peeking out from basketball players shorts. My lycra riding shorts don't provide the same value in holding in heat to the muscles, but maybe high-end ones do. But the tights I use for hockey and tennis are much thicker and help the muscles get and stay warm. I wear them under my riding shorts on cold/wet days.
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Old 11-04-04, 03:00 PM
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I'm 54 and I have the have that reversed. I'm slower, stiffer and less fluid in the morning on the way to work and going home in the afternoon I basically just boggie. I sit in a office all day behind a computer also. Hmmmmm... you got me thinking too.
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Old 11-04-04, 03:15 PM
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Geez, I'm 43 and am experiencing similar symptoms. Oh no!!!

I don't have anything constructive to add. My feet actually go numb sometimes while sitting at my desk.

And I'm going crazy. Thanks to this forum for giving me the opportunity to realize that....
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Old 11-04-04, 07:50 PM
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DanO220
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Hey Calyton;

Iím 42, and although I only share one of your symptoms perhaps I can offer some suggestions. I too sit at a computer all day long and have just a bit of swelling in my legs. However it is almost non-existent when I am riding regularly. So keep riding as long as you can. It definitely helps the circulation.

Have you tried taking it really easy on the way to work, thus reserving a bit more Ďjuiceí for a more vigorous effort on the way home? Or is parking at your job secure enough that you can drive your bike to work in the car, pedal home in the evening, then ride back to work in the morning? Trying either of these might establish whether or not youíre simply pushing it a bit too hard on your way in.

You mentioned you have more trouble in the winter. In my opinion; even if temps are not that different between night and day, pedaling through the crisp morning sure is more inspiring than mashing those pedals homeward on a cold, dark night. I assume youíre dressing appropriately. A long sleeve jersey, tights and full-fingered gloves might do you good if youíre not.

Are you keeping hydrated throughout the day? Iím lousy at drinking enough water. In fact, the only days I really drink as much as I should are those days when I ride. And then I catch myself guzzling a couple bottles during the last hour before I ride home. The only reason I mention it is that if itís a problem for me, itís a problem for a couple others. Also; be sure to eat some easily digestible carbs in that last hour before you ride home. If you donít, maybe youíre just Ďbonkingí.

And ultimately, pay more attention to how youíre feeling and donít beat yourself up over riding 15 instead of 18 mph. Thatís just not worth worrying over. Maybe the best advice I could give you is to throw away that computer. Mine broke a couple years ago and Iíve never felt compelled to replace it.
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Old 11-04-04, 07:54 PM
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I'm 46 and yada yada yada...

You might try my way - "pedal" your feet keeping the balls of your feet on the floor for several minutes. Then simply bounce them a bit, again keeping the balls of your feet on the floor. Do this periodically through the day. Also, you might consider taking the long route to the restroom and break/lunch rooms.

Edited to add: Oh, and one more thing: cut back on salt. Like, try to take it back to a total daily intake of less than 100mg. Salt can, besides exacerbating blood pressure, cause your body to retain fluids - hence the swelling.
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Old 11-04-04, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Clayton
I enjoy a 21 mile round trip commute. The terrain is rolling. Coming to work in the AM is fine but the ride home is often difficult. Coming to work I can usually average 18mph with out a problem but going home I'm lucky to hold 15.

My job is sedentary, requiring me to sit before a computer screen most of the day. By days end my legs are very stiff. During the summer they'ld loosen up quickly for the ride home but now during the winter with the temp between 25 and 35F they never loosen up. I understand that at age 52 I can expect some decrease in peripheral circulation which contributes to the swelling in my legs but I'm hoping there's something I can do to alleviate the stiffness.

Are any of you middle aged commuters experiencing the same problem, if so what do you do about it?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Here's a suggestion:
A lot of elite athletes wear specially designed lycra leggings before and after exercise. I don't know what brands are available in USA, but most top sports brands like Nike, Slazenger etc. sell them. One particularly good brand is Skins. They're not expensive, and they keep you warm in winter which is ideal for you.

You could wear them under your work pants quite easily and no one would notice, not even you after a while. The best thing is that these may sort out your problem.

The 'tights' prompt the circulation of your blood through your legs, so effectively its like you were riding in summer weather. Just a thought, give it a try if you're willing. If nothing else, they will keep you warm...
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Old 11-04-04, 08:41 PM
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BostonKate
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Clayton, is it muscle stiffness or joint stiffness? How you deal with it will vary depending on what it is.
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Old 11-04-04, 10:15 PM
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JavaMan
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If your legs are stiff, try stretching several times during the day. If it's worse in the winter, try one of those little heaters under your desk. I'm 49, commute 36 miles round trip, but at work I walk around a lot. Nevertheless, I still stretch frequently. Hope you figure it out!
Tom
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Old 11-05-04, 11:53 AM
  #12  
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Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I'm already doing what most of you have suggested but I haven't tried the exercises that Becca mentioned so I'll give that a try for sure. I'll also look into Kilbourne's suggestion regarding leggings under my regular clothes; that sounds promising.

Regarding BostonKate's question of muscle stiffness vs joint stiffness, I'm unsure. I don't know how to differentiate. At the end of the work day my legs feel heavy and maintaing my normal cadence requires a lot more work. The work load is very similar to the one I experience when climbing a grade. Last night for instance I didn't begin to feel normal until I'd covered almost 8 miles of my 10.5 mile commute. The last 2.5 miles was great but the earlier portion of the ride was a grind. Even on the couple downhill sections it was more difficult to keep the cadence up.

I don't mean to complain. I'm grateful I can still ride and I plan on continuing until my body will not do it any longer. I ask my questions of you all because I have no riding companions who are my same age. Even the guys at the LBS are all younger and aren't experiencing the things I am. After 33 years of riding I'm still learning.

Thanks again for your feedback.
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Old 11-05-04, 03:10 PM
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BostonKate
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If it was joints, you'd know I have derelict knees and often wear knee warmers just if I'm going to be outside. Yours sounds more muscular (not a doctor, yadda yadda) and circulatory - taking an extra 10 minutes to stretch well and possibly run in place before you get going might really make a difference. That, and tights!

I also get "dead legs" when I've been doing too much without a break, day after day. It's part of the reason that massage therapy gets budgeted in around here...
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