Bicycling: A Good Way To Get Back In Shape Once You Hit Your 50s

A long winter can make it hard to keep in good physical condition when you get older. Ice and snow covered sidewalks are dangerous to walk on to get some exercise, and the streets aren't much better as snow piles up and car drivers have trouble seeing around bends in the road and corners. However, now that spring has returned, you can get back outside to take in a breath of fresh air and get some exercise. Bicycling is a good way to get back into cardiovascular shape without straining yourself too much, and it gives you a chance to enjoy the great outdoors for a few minutes each day. Here are 3 things you should know before you start bicycling.

Buy Good a Good Bike

Many people try to save money getting back into bicycling by buying a cheap bike. Buying a cheap bike will usually not work to your advantage. Bikes found at discount stores are great for just getting around the neighborhood, but if you plan on riding for five or ten miles a day (which takes a lot less time than a lot of people often think), you'll need a better made bike than what you usually find at discount stores. Good bikes that won't break your budget can be found at sport equipment stores and bicycle shops - they also have knowledgeable personnel who can help you pick out a bike that is suitable for you.

Start Slow

You should start a bicycle exercise regime slowly regardless if you have a cheap bike or an expensive one. Your muscles need time to acclimate themselves to the workout and get back in shape. For instance, instead of power riding up sharp inclines, you should get off your bike and walk up it instead. This will save energy, reduce stress on your muscles, and make for an enjoyable ride. Start by just riding around the neighborhood to get your muscles in shape before you go on an extended ride that will take a lot of effort.

Properly Set Up Bike

Bikes are not built exactly to your measurements and they will usually need some adjusting so you can have a nice ride. If you don't know how to set the seat and handle bars correctly to your body size, you should have the bicycle shop set up the bike for you.  The seat and handlebars are connected to posts that slide into the frame of the bike. These posts are raised up and down until you feel comfortable. One thing you should do after the technician sets up your bike is take a permanent magic marking pen and mark the spot on the posts where they enter into the frame. Marking the posts will help in case the posts move while going over a bump in the road and you want to readjust them back into position without having to return to the bike shop so they can do it for you.

A note of caution: If you have taken an extended time off from physical activity, you should visit a doctor (such as one from Citadel Physiotherapy) before starting a bicycling exercise routine to make sure you won't end up hurting yourself.