You Are Never Too Old

I’ve heard a lot of excuses when I ask people why they don’t try cycling for exercise but the big excuse is age. People think they’re too old to bike and that’s just sad. I see people biking who are much older than me (I’m 63) and they swear by it. Once more, they’re healthier than their non-biking counterparts still getting aerobic exercise well into their 80’s and keeping their cores strong.

That handsome fellow in the featured image next to me is Dave, he’s 83 and still going strong. We’ve been biking together occasionally for the last 2 years after meeting on the trail. After seeing me this year me he told me he was impressed with how I look and how my biking has improved since last year. Music to my ears I worked hard for it.

I have a good friend in Oakland, CA whose approaching 70 and he’s been riding for decades. He belongs to the Yellow Jackets who host rides and more. If you go to the website you’ll see photos of him. He keeps up with the younger riders and is an impressive hill climber

These are but a few people enjoying the benefits of cycling into old age. Biking has kept us all looking good, moving well and thinking fast. Depending on your comfort level and skill set there is a bike out there that will fit you, personality and all. So what’s stopping you?

Your health is everything!

When I think of turning 60 or over I fear the same health problems as most older Americans fear:

  • dementia
  • diabetes
  • heart problems
  • hormones
  • stroke/blood clots
  • high blood pressure
  • bad joints/wear and tear
  • falls/bad balance
  • loss of bone density/breaking bones
  • being overweight

If you haven’t figured it out already most of these (if not genetic) are caused by being overweight and spending hours sitting. New studies have shown that sitting for hours on end is as bad as smoking cigarettes and even modest exercise may not be good enough to combat it. And that’s not all!

As a fellow American, I think we should be ashamed because we are fat when compared to other countries. Roughly two-thirds of adults, nearly 30% of children are overweight or obese.  The numbers continue to rise despite interests in eating better, diet and exercise fads.

Not everyone who has these serious health problems is overweight but the majority are. Even a few extra pounds tipping the scale can be the culprit that’s making you sick. Being heavy can affect many things you wouldn’t think about:

  • the way you move
  • your mood/depression
  • your skin and hair
  • your back and joints
  • quality of sleep
  • energy level
  • pain
  • self worth

ME 2016

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In 2015 at 198 pounds and terribly depressed I finally got fed up with myself starting a diet of 1,200 calories a day. I needed both knees replaced and they always hurt. I was having some problems with vertigo, I walked with a cane and couldn’t walk very far. I had a lot of falls.

When I look at this photo it’s still a little painful, I was 30 pounds overweight and covered in fat. When I went to the doctor my heart would be racing and I had to have EKGs. Heart problems were around the corner and my father had adult-onset diabetes.

I needed to lose around 30 more pounds and I had some hard places to lose it in, like my stomach and thighs. I had back fat that looked terrible in a bra and I was desperate to get rid of it. That’s when I dragged out my old Schwinn and decided to ride it every other day. It was the hardest thing I ever did-not riding the bike-but making myself do it.

ME 2017

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NOW-Almost 2 years after “getting serious” I’m proud of myself. My hard work paid off and the changes are remarkable. My doctor just told me I don’t necessarily need knee replacement now because it might be a tendon problem (being treated.) I am strong and so is my heart. The only medicine I take is for my thyroid and sometimes a pain pill. My pain and mood have been much better.

I realized that if I could do this by myself that anyone could. I did it by eating good food, working on getting a better nights sleep and riding my bike regularly. I followed my diet and rode my bike every other day increasing my miles per ride. Soon I could ride up hills, go further and with my experience came confidence. It felt great.

You are never too old to ride a bicycle.

During my rides, I meet and see lots of older people on bicycles. Some of them look comfortable but I still see beginners and reflect back on my first months of riding after years of neglect. I may not know them but feel proud of them for being brave and tough enough to get out there and do it.

Always check with your doctor first, but riding a bike is the best way to get in shape especially for older people. It’s the easiest aerobic exercise you can do (sitting on a saddle and moving your legs up and down) and there’s no need to target any body part because it works on your core taking fat off just about everywhere. It’s one of the top calorie burning exercises, you’re playing outside and if done regularly you won’t have to diet again.

A word to all of you not lucky enough to be able to ride year round. There are spin classes (riding a stationary bicycle inside) offered everywhere. There are many kinds of classes to choose from like Soul Cycle and you can find stationary bikes at the gym. Most have recumbent and regular style bikes.

Take your time and start slow.

Remember, I have very bad knees and all it did was make them much better. I can walk 4 miles easy and no more cane or falls. I had problems with my back and once I learned to relax in the saddle that went away too. My heart is strong and my doctors are patting me on the back. I have a new body and attitude.

Don’t be afraid of breaking bones or falling. Take your time and start slow, it took you time to get out of shape and it will take time to get back in shape. You will need to work on your balance, be patient with yourself. Rest on your days off that’s what they’re for. Eat healthy foods and get 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep a night. The calorie burn and weight-loss start immediately!

Riding outside is much healthier than spinning yet both have the same results as far as weight loss and muscle building. Getting sunshine is an important source of vitamin D for our bodies and balancing a bicycle while riding is a core strengthening exercise (much needed in older people) you don’t get while spinning. Avoiding bumps and maneuvering a bike is also an important core exercise including strengthening the arms. You have to steer a bicycle that helps the arms and overall our whole bodies get into the act. Not so when spinning.

My rides differ from day to day and I will ride outside even in the rain but if it got too cold for me I’d consider spinning. It’s the next best thing. If you wanted to try spinning before biking outside I’d advise you to just get a bike and ride outside. I’ve found it to be a fountain of youth and so amazing which is why I do this website.

If I could I’d get everyone on a bicycle. You don’t have to hunch over the handlebars or get an expensive bike either. Make sure and get the right bicycle for you and it will be the last weight-loss equipment you’ll ever buy. No matter what age you are. You will thank yourself someday.

Thinner, taller, faster, stronger!

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A Balancing Act You Can Do

Since September of 2015 I’ve lost over 56 pounds and in August of this year was thrilled to hit my target weight of 145, even going a little below. I didn’t time it that way, it’s just the way I lost weight. Everything I did was a balancing act, do a little of this, a little of that and practice leads to good health. If I can do it anyone can.

The time it takes to lose weight is not divided into weeks or months. I wanted to lose it as fast as possible but my body had its own ideas. I had plateaus at 180 pounds and later at 165 where I thought I’d NEVER lose any more weight, gained back weight, (without over eating) and more. I just stuck to my plan of logging my food and bike riding. If I messed up one day I’d start again the next.

It was a balancing act that I found my body and I could do! Along the way, I learned oodles about myself and my body that I use today to keep my hard-earned figure.

A Little Of This

Water is my “go to” drink now. It’s all I drink and when I get tired of it I add fruit. I bought a water container that has a ball in it that crushes the fruit when I shake it and it works well! I put raspberries, blueberries, any fruit I want in it and take it with me. I call it my Jammin’ Juice. Drinking water can keep you feeling full and helps your body function properly.

I quit most sugary drinks including fruit juices (except OJ) and soda. At first, I wondered how I’d do this but now I don’t even notice it’s gone! My biggest problem is fat but it makes things taste good and I use the better fats versus the bad.

Of course, I’ll have an occasional soda, milkshake or even an alcoholic drink. I make sure and log them.

I also quit snacking. Many new diets now have “days off” or teach you healthy snacking. I think learning to expect snacks between meals can go wrong. For me, it’s 3 main healthy meals and for snacks, it’s a piece of fruit, carrot sticks or a handful of nuts.

The diets that promise you “days off” are not what you think. It doesn’t mean you can have days to totally go off of your diet. These diets have strict rules for your days off they are not days you can just eat what you want.

The best thing is to find something that is doable for you. Be honest with yourself about what you can eat or drink and find a good application that will help you keep track.

A Little Of That

I bought a Jawbone UP3 health band I’ve been wearing since October of 2015. I used it to learn how to improve my sleep by changing my bedroom and sleeping habits. I use it to monitor my REM, awake time, light and deep sleep.

I used to be an insomniac but now I sleep like a baby and get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The recommended is 7 1/2 to 8 hours a night.

New studies say sleep is important for weight-loss and good health. If you don’t get enough sleep there’s a good chance you are overweight. Sleeping well will make you live longer. Sleep is something we all take for granted but if you get enough quality sleep for a period of time you will notice the difference.

A Little More Of This

I’ve been on a 1,200 calorie diet since September of 2015 and learned to eat more healthy foods. At first, I walked and watched steps to lose weight. I lost over 30 pounds but needed something more to tone up.

In February I started riding my bicycle every other day. I would ride however long I could stand it until I got better at it. Every other day was good because I had a day off in between. It wasn’t easy and sometimes I had to walk my bike up a hill.

I started to see small changes to my body that were adding up. Since cycling is aerobic it takes fat off of many parts of the body especially the legs, waist, stomach, and butt. It gives you a good core workout. One thing about regular exercise, you will gain a little weight in muscle but muscle burns more fat so in no time you will start losing again.

I wanted to lose as fast as possible but I still took days off and went over my calories for the day. I just made sure not to lose my head about it and go hog wild with the food and drink. In August I hit my target weight.

Some More Of That

I have to exercise if I want to keep my weight off and I do that by bike riding and walking. It’s not easy to motivate every other day and I do miss a day sometimes due to weather or life but it works for me and keeps me going.

Now that I’m in such good shape I can walk without a cane ( I still need both knees replaced eventually) and further than I have in years. I find on my days off from cycling that I get bored if I don’t have a lot to do. I decided that a walk on my days off can be something I really enjoy. I can now walk up to 4 miles and I like to hike on nature trails. It makes me so happy to be active spending my time outside and I sleep like a baby.

A Bit Of This

Because I’m happy with my diet I’m sticking to it. The foods I eat now on a daily basis are the foods I love. I still log my food and stick to a set amount of calories while I ride my bike or walk every other day. My weight has been stable around 142 and my health is wonderful. I’ve been extremely happy although my life is pretty much the same with the same issues. I just can’t be unhappy and I’m thankful for it. Be positive!

This balancing act you can do! Each of us has our own road getting to our target weight but it is so doable. You’ll feel like quitting, you’ll be hungry and you’ll have cravings but the weight will come off. Take before and after photos so you can share your story with others when the time comes because you’ll be so proud of yourselves.

I urge you to get back on a bike or find something you like to do because it’s so much easier to lose weight with exercise. We must do aerobics and weight bearing exercises to stay fit into old age. Picture yourself at 70, or 80, do you want to do things for yourself? Someone told me to visit an old folks home for motivation. You’ll never forget it.

It’s a balancing act you can do!