Mountain Biking As You Age: How To Get Stronger As You Get Older

June 18th, 2018

This post was originally published at richmond.sacredrides.com

 

Mountain biking keeps you young. Those who cycle regularly age better than non-cyclists, a recent study published in Aging Cell reveals. The study found cycling results in stronger muscles and a healthier immune system, which works to slow down the aging process. So, incase you had any doubts, there’s no reason not to continue mountain biking well into your golden years! While a fit, healthy cyclist can tackle any trail regardless of age, it’s important to recognize that bodies 40 years old and over are different to 20-year-old bodies. You need to take particular care of yourself to remain strong, resilient, and fighting fit.

Stretch it out

Stretching is important for staying flexible, healthy, and mobile. Muscles tighten and tendons weaken with age, so it’s vital you warm up before exercise to improve range of motion and reduce chance of injury. If you don’t always have the time for full-body stretching, focus on warming up the muscles predominately used for biking: quads, calves, biceps, hip flexors, and lower back. Stretching will help you recover easier after the ride, but you should also take time to cool down with static stretches. Ideally, these should be done everyday — especially after a hard ride — to prevent cramp and muscle soreness.

Maintain muscle

Muscle mass steadily declines after age forty and leaves people generally weaker and injury prone. Doing strength training exercises in addition to your bike rides, however, will maintain muscle and improve your performance on the bike — especially on challenging trails. Strong muscles act as protection if you fall (on or off the trail) as they help prevent fractures and promote faster recovery.  

Stay safe

It’s important your bike fits correctly and suits your needs, so you’re safe and comfortable on your rides. You may prefer a nice padded seat and wide tires to help retain stability and balance, which can be a challenge for older people. You should also regularly go for eye checks and wear glasses when riding if necessary. It’s important your vision remains sharp, so you can navigate oncoming traffic and trails with lots of twists and turns.

Ultimately, remember age is only just a number. It’s more than possible to stay fit and healthy in later life — and keep hitting those trails. As fitness is usually a case of mind over matter, focus on cultivating a strong, positive mindset and nothing will be able to stop you. Here’s to many exhilarating years of mountain biking ahead!

Written by Jennifer Dawson at  defendyourhealthcare.us 

Facebook comments