Friday, 10 February 2012

Why Is Cycling The Perfect Activity For The Older Person?

AppId is over the quota
AppId is over the quota

It is now common knowledge that we are, generally speaking, getting fatter, more unfit and as a result of the first two less healthy than any previous generation that came before us.

The figures on the number of overweight and obese people in our society are scary, and it's getting worse. Lifestyle diseases such as heart attack, stroke and cancer are taking an ever greater toll.

Whilst there are many factors which contribute to the rise in our health problems, one of the greatest is lack of exercise. Our sedentary lifestyle, whereby we tend to sit most of the day, whether it be in cars, on lounges or behind a computer, is not one which offers much exercise in our daily routine.

In the past many professions involved exercise merely from doing work, however the number of jobs which now exercise the worker as part of the work is almost non-existent.

As a result it is incumbent on each and every one of us, if we wish, as we get older, to halt the slide into fitness, unhealthy and overweight, to choose to exercise.

Some years ago I was faced with exactly this scenario. I had reached 50, with some years of inactivity behind me, and whilst I was not grossly overweight or unhealthy, I was certainly heavier than I would like. And I had watched a number of friends around my age develop serious ill-health relating to weight, lack of exercise and poor diet.

So I decided, at 50, that it was time for me to bite the bullet and start exercising. However I soon discovered that finding something that fitted the bill, namely offered good exercise and which wouldn't bore me to tears wasn't easy.

Many of the activities that I had been involved in when younger were unavailable to me, being a family man. I could no longer spend my weekends at the beach surfing, or in the mountains kayaking. With 2 children I needed to be around during the weekend, or at least much of it.

I considered jogging, but didn't even bother. I hate jogging and I knew that no matter how much willpower I applied I could not make myself jog every day. And that's not even considering the potential injuries from starting jogging when over 50.

I tried swimming. However I discovered that a half-hour spent swimming, gazing at that endless black line on the bottom of the pool, was one of the most boring activities I had ever engaged in. After a month of swimming I gave up.

I tried a stationary rowing machine. I figured that if I put it in front of the television and watched a movie that time would fly by. How wrong was that. Half an hour seemed to take a lifetime. Some weeks later I put my rowing machine in a boot sale.

And then I came across road cycling. Initially tentative I soon discovered that it wasn't that difficult, and fulfilled all of the requirements for me.

I enjoyed it, in fact I looked forward to doing it whenever I could, and still do. I was getting good exercise, but low impact, so I didn't need to worry about stress injuries. In fact it was probably the most fun I had during the week.

It wasn't expensive. Of course the initial purchase of a bike isn't cheap, but once you have the bike there is virtually no more costs. Unlike some sports such as golf, there's no ongoing dues.

And it's hugely social. Unlike some solitary sports when road cycling you're amongst a like minded group of people, in my case up to 50, and half the fun is found in the people around you.

Since I took up road cycling I haven't looked back. I'm now 55 and fitter than ever. I ride 3 or 4 times a week and look forward to every day on the bike. I've lost weight, I can eat more of what I like and I feel good.

Road cycling has to be the ideal activity for the slightly older person, male or female. It has so many advantages over just about anything else I can think of. I cannot think of a better way to get fitter, lose weight and have fun.

If you're getting older and the weight is creeping on, the health deteriorating and you need some fun in your life, consider road cycling. Find a bunch of cyclists, join the bunch and get pedalling. You won't regret it.

Visit Peter's website The over 40 Cyclist at for a free weekly newsletter dedicated purely to the older road cyclist, full of tips, tricks and ideas to make your cycling better.

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