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By continuing to train well throughout your life, your performance will decrease very slowly. The key is learning how to do it without getting injured or causing your body to break down from the effort. The best way to age gracefully and have a happy, satisfying life is to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Constantly challenge yourself to grow physically, intellectually, culturally, socially and emotionally. As you age it's very important to set cycling goals to keep yourself focused and motivated and give purpose to your workouts.
Goals are highly individual. They can run the gamut from riding to get in shape and take off a few pounds to winning the national championship road race in your age class. In any fitness program there are four key elements to consider:.
Strength and Resistance Training. As we age, the loss of muscle and bone mass becomes one of the foremost problems. In order to maintain muscle mass, slow the decline of fast-twitch muscle fibers and prevent loss of bone density, you must do resistance training, often called strength or weight training. It also stimulates the production of growth hormones and testosterone. Unfortunately, cycling does little to develop certain muscle groups that are crucial to overall fitness, particularly in the core and upper body.
Most coaches typically recommended beginning a weight training regimen in the off season, usually in late October. This has changed somewhat, with many riders now doing year-round strength training with an emphasis on the upper body and core in season. Many riders avoid aggressive lower-body strength training during the season to avoid "dead legs.
In a recent study at the University of Illinois , experienced cyclists added 3 days of full-body strength training to their regular regimen. But in another study of endurance cyclists at the University of Cape Town in South Africa , it was found that full-body strength training 3 times a week had a negative effect on cycling performance. The bottom line is that strength training must be tailored to the individual. Lower-body workouts help some riders during the season, while others find their legs get fatigued and sluggish.
Upper-body and core training is recommended throughout the year for all riders. At the end of the season the volume and intensity of cycling decreases and other forms of cardiovascular activity are added. This phase helps prepare the body to move into higher intensity strength training. The cyclist does 2 or 3 sets of repetitions 3 times per week using light weights. This phase typically lasts weeks. Repetitions are reduced to , the weight is increased from light to moderate and the number of sets is increased to 4 or 5.
This phase typically lasts weeks while cycling is further reduced. Workouts are done 3 times per week. Heavier weights are used, reps are reduced to and sets are reduced to 3 or 4. This phase typically lasts weeks and ends as on-bike spring training commences.
This phase spans the riding season and is similar to the transition phase with light weights, high reps and multiple sets. The number of days per week is reduced to 1 or 2 and emphasis is on the upper body and core.
Lower-body training is either discontinued or reduced. It depends on individual needs and how the body is responding. Bench Press chest, arms. Lie on your back on a bench with hands on the barbell shoulder width apart and feet flat on the floor. Lower the bar to mid chest and slowly push it back to the starting position.
Upright Row shoulders, neck. Stand straight with feet a few inches apart. Hold the barbell in front of your thighs with your hands a few inches apart and facing you.
Pull the bar straight up toward your chin with elbows out until it's at mid chest. Hold for seconds before slowly lowering. Bent-Over Row upper back. Bend from the waist with your back straight and grasp the barbell palms rearward with a wide grip. Feet should be at shoulder width and knees should be slightly bent. Pull the bar up toward the waist while keeping the back straight and elbows pointing up. Hold for seconds, then lower slowly.
Do this with a barbell or dumbbell while standing upright with palms facing away. Curl the weight to the chest while keeping elbows close to your side. Use a barbell with both hands or a dumbbell with one. Strand straight with the weight over your head. With a barbell, your hands should almost be touching. With a dumbbell, your palm should be facing inward.
Lower the weight by bending your elbow s so it goes behind your head. Keep your arm s close to your head. Dumbbell Fly chest, shoulders. Lie on a bench face up with dumbbells held over your chest by straight arms and hands facing each other. Lower your arms to the side with elbows slightly bent until the weights are even with the bench, then bring the weights back to the starting position. Pull Ups arms, shoulders, back. Grasp the pull-up bar with arms at shoulder width and hands facing you.
Pull yourself up till your chin is even with the bar, then lower slowly. Also do it with hands facing away. Push Ups arms, chest, abdomen. Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels. Hands should be at shoulder width. Squats quadriceps, buttocks, hamstrings.
Stand tall with the barbell resting on your shoulders behind your neck and feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your weight on the heels. Going beyond a degree bend may cause knee injury. Put the barbell in the same position as when squatting. Keep your legs straight and go up on your tip-toes, raising the heels high. For a greater range of motion, stand with your toes on a 2x4. Leg Press quadriceps, buttocks.
Adjust the leg press machine so that your knees are bent only slightly less than 90 degrees at the starting position. Grip the machine's side handles and push until your legs are almost fully extended, then lower slowly. Lie face down on the leg-curl bench with the curling pad on your ankle. Your knee should be just off the bench. Slowly bring your heal toward your butt, hold seconds at full contraction, then lower slowly.
Do each leg individually so that strength gain is equal. Sit on an extension bench with the pad against your ankle and your knee bent at 90 degrees. Slowly straighten the leg until it's in full extension, hold for seconds, then lower slowly.
Be careful with this exercise if you've had knee injuries. Instead of full-arc extensions, limit the range of motion to the final 15 degrees. Forward Lunge quadriceps, buttocks, calf. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand. Take a step forward until the front knee is at a degree angle and the back leg is straight. Step back, then repeat with the other leg.
Lie on the floor with your hands crossed over your chest, knees bent and feet flat. Slowly rise up to degrees and go back down. Alternate between rising straight up and twisting to one side and the other to work the obliques. Back Extensions spinal muscles. Lie face down on the floor or use a Roman chair. Raise your head and arch your back as high as possible, and then go back down.
As we age our dietary needs do not change significantly, but maintaining a healthful diet becomes even more important to overall well-being and athletic performance. Older athletes need more time for recovery and their digestion is not as efficient, particularly when it comes to wheat and dairy products. Food is divided into three broad categories: There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats actually reduce the risk of heart disease and arthrosclerosis. They're comprised of poly- and monounsaturated fats that are beneficial because they increase levels of high-density lipids, which reduce plaque formation on blood vessel walls and lower the risk of heart disease.
Examples of good fats include deep- and cold-water fish, olive and sunflower oil, peanut butter, walnuts, almonds and wheat germ.
Bad fats are known as saturated fats or hydrogenated oils and they increase levels of low-density lipids. These fats can accumulate on the walls of blood vessels, increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels and even increase the incidence of certain cancers. Examples of bad fats include hydrogenated vegetable oils, transfatty acids, saturated fats, butter, cookies, potato chips, meat and dairy fats.
Fats are an important part of a balanced diet and they provide a tremendous energy reserve. In addition, they comprise part of cell membranes, help produce hormones, store and transport the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Breaking down fats and using them as an energy source is a slow aerobic process that supplies roughly half of the energy during low- and moderate-level exercise. Proteins or amino acids are often referred to as the "building blocks" of the body.
They are the major component of cells, enzymes and hormones. During exercise protein provides minimal energy.
Its primary function is in the building and repair of tissue. Carbohydrate is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen and broken down to glucose, its usable form.
Glucose is the primary and preferred source of energy during exercise. The brain uses only glucose as fuel, so the body strives to maintain constant levels.
When glucose is depleted, we bonk. This is the reason that eating and drinking carbohydrates during exercise is so important. Carbohydrates, sugars and starches are divided into two main classifications: Complex carbs take longer to break down in the body and they maintain constant glucose levels over a longer period.
In addition, complex carbohydrates have a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients as compared to simple carbohydrates. Examples of complex carbs include bread, fruit, pasta, grains, vegetables, rice and beans. Simple sugars, on the other hand, break down quickly, providing a rapid energy boost that lasts only a short time.
Simple sugars tend to provide "empty" calories lacking nutritional value. Examples include candy bars, doughnuts, cookies, potato chips and other high-calorie "junk food. Nutrition During and After Training. Eating and drinking during exercise is vital for better performance and avoiding fatigue, particularly for the older cyclist. The average athlete has enough stored glycogen in his or her liver and muscles to last about two hours while exercising at moderate intensity.
When glycogen runs out, the body begins to burn fat for fuel. This leads to bonking, which is characterized by fatigue, nausea, headache, irritability, confusion and loss of coordination. Fortunately it is relatively easy to avoid bonking while training. Simply replenish glucose stores with energy gels, energy bars, sports drinks or glucose-rich foods.
The average athlete needs to take in approximately 40 grams of carbohydrate per hour during moderate exercise. The key is to eat and drink throughout the workout, starting shortly after beginning.
The choice of fuel can be personal as long as an adequate amount is ingested. Among common glucose sources are sports drinks such as Gatorade, PowerAde and Accelerade.
They provide about carbohydrate grams per 8 ounces. Energy bars such as Clif Bar and PowerBar average carb grams per bar. A banana has 30 carb grams while an apple or orange has carb grams. Fig Newtons yield 11 carb crams per cookie.
The sooner an athlete eats or drinks carbohydrate after exercise, the more effective the recovery process. Glycogen synthesis is highest for the first 45 minutes after training when blood flow is high and muscles are depleted. There are many recovery drink formulas are on the market. Most include vitamins, minerals and some protein as well as carbohydrate. People looking for a low-impact exercise. Twenty to 40 minutes per day is a good average for most people with RA, he says.
Anyone, as long as you know your limits Tips: Start by doing bicep curls with light hand weights, no more than 2 to 5 lbs. Stronger muscles help you perform daily activities. Anyone with feet or ankle problems.
It also strengthens the quads. Try cycling for 10 minutes at a time. Build up to 30 to 40 minutes two to three times a week. People with pain in their fingers and hands Tips: Spread your fingers as wide as they can go, then make a fist, and repeat that stretching and squeezing motion.
Let it absorb the water before squeezing it out again. RA patients who want to sweat without hurting their joints Tips: What makes Zumba, the Latin-inspired dance fitness craze, different from high-impact aerobics classes? Taking twice-weekly classes will help you learn the choreography. Anyone desiring better balance, improved posture, a stronger core Tips: Close your eyes and take deep, relaxed breaths in through your nose and out from your mouth.
Place your hands on your stomach and focus on moving your diaphragm in and out with each breath. Concentrate on strengthening the core muscles of your abdomen to maintain your balance and posture. People who have good balance and exercise endurance Tips: Riding an elliptical machine is not for the exercise novice. Start at a constant ramp height and constant resistance and make adjustments as you get stronger. Or choose a pre-set cross-training program.
Adding arm movements will amp up the cardiovascular benefit. People who enjoy recreational exercise. Gardening burns calories and boosts pleasure-enhancing endorphins, easing depression that can be associated with RA , says Anderson.
But you need to pace yourself. With suspension training, you leverage your own body weight from straps hanging from an anchor point. Place your feet in the stirrups and hold your body up with your hands or resting flat on your forearms. Holding a plank position works muscles in the abdomen, back and shoulders. Work up to a second hold with a second rest between reps. People with weak hip muscles. Face the kitchen sink and hold on. This will work muscles in the front of your hips.
Keep your toes facing forward.