Bicycle Riding When Over Weight
"....it's just like getting back on a bicycle." Well, maybe for most, even for some of us that are over weight. But when the body has extra weight on it, and is out of shape, and a person's balance is off, it may or may not be that simple.
There are precautions a heavy and or older person MUST take. But YES!, YOU SURE COULD GET OUT AND RIDE A BICYCLE AGAIN!
Years ago I used to ride a Touring Bike all over the place. I put on many miles a week. I rode across Missouri in a week on the Katy Trail. I rode up and down the Katy Trail as well as many other places each month. It is fun, it is freeing....and it is great for the shape of your body.
When we moved to Wisconsin we rode our bikes sometimes. Not as far, not as often as either of us had in MO. When we moved to South Dakota, we left our Touring Bikes in a storage shed in Wisconsin. I had been thinking about it, and for my 57th Birthday, over weight as I was (am still), I need to loose about 70 pounds, I wanted a bicycle to get out and ride the Mickelson Trail as well as the Bike Paths in many of the Cities around where we live. So I picked out a cheaper bike, who knew how this would go?, and we have been riding again. I might not go as fast or far as I once did, but dang!, it feels good to be riding a bike again!
If it has been years since your last bike ride, first of all start walking before you start riding a bike again. Get your body going again. Stand up in front of the TV and move around, dance, exercise, something, just move around. Stretch your muscles, each day.
Make sure that the bicycle you are going to get on can hold the weight you carry. My 29" wheel Genesis Mountain Bicycle, bought at Walmart, is rated to 350 pounds. I wanted one I could not only stretch my legs on (correct fit) but also carry camping gear and such with us on the trail.
Correct Fit. It is so important to buy a bike that fits you correctly for comfort, candance, and so that the dog gone thing won't make your knees worse then they already are. If you do not know hot to fit a bike, go to a Bicycle Shop and or look on line. It really is very important. You would NEVER wear Cowboy Boots in a size or two to small to ride or work around the Farm in, same goes for a bike.
Make sure the bike is in Good Repair. Don't just grab an old bicycle out of the Garage or from a Garage Sale and hop on it. Have someone look at the bike to make sure the Spokes are tight and right, the wheels and tires are correctly filled. Yes. It really does matter.
Stretch Out before each ride. Even before and after a short ride.
Proper Clothes and Shoes. Jeans are NOT bicycle riding clothing. They are heavy and will hold you back when you are sweating. Padded Bicycle Shorts/Pants come in many sizes, and you can probably find the size you need. Buy on line if you are too embarrassed to buy them in a store. If you do wear long pants, be sure to tie the bottoms if they are not snug, so that the bottoms of your pants do not get caught in your chain or any other bike part. Shoes matter. Crocs are great shoes, I wear them all the time, but not for Bicycle Riding. Remember, when you peddle, you have to push down on the shoe first then the peddle to make it turn. With cushy shoes, it is going to take a lot more leg strength and will wear you out faster then if you have a harder type sole on the bottom of a shoe....how do I know this....I started riding in crocs when I got my Mountain Bike...
Start Slow. Don't try to ride 5 miles uphill and fast your first time out. If it takes you an hour to go around the block, so what? Stop and catch your breath. Have Fun. Having Fun is what it is all about.
Carry Water and Food. Always carry water. If you are going further than around the block, or if you are diabetic, or have other eating health problems, carry some fruit and or crackers.
Knee Problems? Riding a bike will strengthen your legs, ankles, your whole body! Seriously, I have even found that my eyes, yes, eyes, are stronger. I no longer need the stronger reading glasses I had been wearing and started wearing my older glasses with less magnification.
Geared Bicycles will give you more choices when the trails and hills get rough. Cruisers are fine for flat pavement, but if you have dreams of riding through towns and cities as well as on Bike Paths and Trails, you might want to get a bike with gears. My bike has many gears. I may not use them all, but I do use a good many of them, and the rest are there for me, if I choose to use them. It really makes a difference on hills and trails, really makes a difference.
Ride When You Can. Short Bike Rides are still bike rides. You will burn calories and build muscles. When you first start out riding a bicycle again, a short ride might be all you want or are able to do. Short rides lead to longer rides. Ride around the block while waiting that 10 minutes you have between what you needed to do and the next event in your life. RIDE!
Riding a Bike is not Rocket Science, however, when you are older and or over weight, there really are a few safety precautions a person needs to take.
I AM NOT YOUR DR. DRs ALWAYS WANT THE HEAVY AND OLD PEOPLE TO COME IN FOR AN EXAM BEFORE STARTING NEW ACTIVITIES AND EXERCISE. RIDING A BICYCLE CAN BE A VERY EXTREME WORK OUT FOR SOME PEOPLE EVEN ON BIKE PATHS THROUGH CITIES. KNOW YOUR LIMITS AND STAY WITHIN THEM. RIDING A BIKE IS SUPPOSE TO BE FUN....KEEP IT THAT WAY FOR YOURSELF. WE ARE NOT THERE TO SEE THE BICYCLE YOU ARE RIDING OR WHAT THE ROAD OR TRAIL CONDITIONS YOU ARE RIDING ARE LIKE. YOUR OWN SAFETY IS ENTIRELY UP TO YOU.
WHEN I AM RIDING MY BIKE
When I am riding my bike I am working out, my heart is pumping and my body is getting stronger.
My balance is better all day.
I drink more water...and thus, less other stuff like soda.
I am loosing weight.
I stretch out and stretching out is good for the body in many ways.
Because I am loosing weight, and inches, my clothes fit better and I am in smaller clothes.
Riding my bike as an adult is as fun and free feeling as when I was a kid.
Riding a bike, health professionals are now saying, is not only good for your body. People that get out and ride a bike are less stressed, less depressed, happier all around and have more sex.
When I am riding my bike, I am not eating or thinking of food...till I have ridden a while, then I think about where I will be eating my next meal. But I am eating healthier.
When I am out riding my bicycle I am not binge eating, or boredom eating or frustration eating. I am out having a good time in the fresh air.
PEOPLE SAY TO ME ALL THE TIME "I WISH I COULD RIDE A BIKE."
I have people tell me about riding a bicycle, "I wish I could do that."
Now do you?, because there is no reason you could not....well, unless of course, you have very bad health.
If you do not have the money to buy a new bike, go to Garage Sales. Ask to ride the bike there to make sure it is a good fit. Look in your own Garage or ask friends if they have an old bike you could ride.
Worried about weight limits on the bike? You might be surprised how much weight one will hold! Go to a store most bikes have the manuals attached to the bikes, if not ask to see it. Read the weight limits. We have seen bicycles that will hold up to several hundred pounds.
You think you might look bad/fat/silly/like a fool. SO WHAT! Sitting at home and doing nothing about how you feel about yourself is not going to change it. A bicycle and getting our riding might!
You say you do not like the clothing cyclist wear. SO DON'T WEAR THEM. Wear your regular clothing. If you need to, put a rubber band loosely around pants legs to hold them out of the chain area and go.
No where to ride a bike? SURE THERE IS! Load up your bicycle and go. Most towns have Bike Paths or Sidewalks now. Small towns, all the better, you can usually ride the back roads without any cars passing at all....during some hours of the day anyway.
You work too much? Well DANG IT, if you work a lot of hours, YOU NEED THE BIKE FOR YOUR BRAIN MORE THAN YOUR BODY! Get out on a bike and feel the fresh air all around you and feel the bad of the world go away!
No one to ride with? Go alone. Wear bright clothing, tell a friend, before you leave the area you will be in and that you will call them when you get back, GO AND HAVE A GOOD TIME! Even if you just ride around a parking lot once.....it is better than sitting on the couch or going into the kitchen for a another snack!
Don't want to spend the time and energy loading up your bike into a vehicle? THINK of it as extra exercise.
You say that your Knees/Ankles/Hips/Back/Hands hurt me too badly to ride. Are you sure? Are you sure the Dr did not TELL you to get out and exercise? Did the Dr tell you to move them and use them more, to build muscle around them? Start with short bicycle rides. Go around 1/2 or all of a parking lot and work up from there. Bike riding actually BUILDS and WORKS all the body.
Can't afford a helmet? Walmart, Garage Sales, Pawn Stores have them for $10 or less. How much is not only your health, but having a good time worth to you. Your helmet is probably going to be a one time purchase anyway.
Feeling Depressed? Gosh, we all do from time to time. Getting out in the fresh air having fun will help depression too!
And if all else fails but you would still like at least a few of the benefits from riding a bicycle. You might not get as much exercise, but buy a used Stationary Bike and ride it while you watch TV.
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-- The Does My Butt Look Big In The Saddle Team
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:35:36 -0400