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How To Become A Better Cyclist As You Age

One of the myths of growing up or growing old, is that decline is inevitable. We are told that children learn languages better,that after a certain age you can;t learn to play the piano, or become a better cyclist. Yet, science has shown that the brain is immensely flexible, able to grow and expand in response to new stimuli. What this means is that you can learn and improve and evolve, regardless of your age. To speed up the learning process, you just have to figure out the most important concepts that you need to grasp. For instance, if you want to learn how to be a better climber, then you have to practice hills with your bicycle. If you want to pass through the air more smoothly, then you should wear a skinsuit. Although we all age, we all can improve if we put our powerful brains to it. What often gets neglected is that our bodies are also very adaptable and flexible in response to the right stimuli. With better diets, technologies to improve sleep and recovery and more understanding of physiology, even elite athletes such as Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tom Brady, can perform at a high level at an age where in the past they would have had to retire. So in this article we will discuss how you can become a better cyclist as you age.

Peak Fitness

Endurance and speed records suggest that an athlete's peak fitness is between the ages of 25 and 35. This 10-year window is when a person achieves their maximal muscle strength. However, with the right diet, sleep and recovery and training, athletes are able to achieve peak fitness at later stages of their lives and to continue to perform at an elite level, without any visible drop in performance. They may have to adjust their game to suit their changing body, but losing certain aspects does not employ a deterioration in overall effectiveness.

One thing that is often forgotten is that older athletes will be more experienced, better trained and therefore stronger and faster than younger athletes. So, if you are starting cycling in your 40s, you can happily do so knowing that you are likely to get faster with age, not slower! What you must do is compensate for your evolving body. Compensation does not imply lowering performance, it just means adapting to what you have to achieve a goal.

Age and Strength

After 35, performance in powerlifting at the national and world level declines by 1.8 percent per year. This is due to decline in strength. However, research shows that a person can still improve their muscle strength or size, after the age of 35. The point again is that with the right diet, sleep and recovery, and training, a person can improve their strength as they age. Professional athletes often do not experience this because they have already tapped into their peak strength -such is the scientific nature of elite sports. But for you and I, who have not reached peak strength, we can improve our muscle strength and size. We can still find more gears in our journey toward peak fitness.

Given the strength typically declines with age, strength and resistance training are crucial, and can maintain strength levels or even improve them, as you age.

Age and the Cardiovascular System

As we age, our cardiovascular ability tends to decline. Yet, here again we find that we can increase our performance with training. Overall cardiovascular values do tend to be lower for older adults, but, if older adults follow a similar training regimen as younger adults, they can experience the same gains as them.

Research shows that performance in marathons declines at a rate of one percent a year. After the age of 60, that performance declines becomes 2% per year. These performance declines can be seen in record books, in which elite athletes undergo exacting training.

What we see is that athletes often complain of a decline in their type 2 muscle fibers, which control their sprinting ability. However, they also say that they find that their endurance increases or is maintained. This shows that we need to pay attention to the areas in decline in order to slow down the rate of decline or even reverse it. Older athletes need to focus on explosive movements, sprints, resistance training as well as power movements. Or, you can take on challenges where endurance is called for and your natural advantages are maximized.

Performance Under Adverse Conditions

Although we often think it is psychosomatic, the truth is that older adults are indeed sensitive to environmental conditions. They will, for instance, struggle to perform under the heat. This is because skin blood flow declines with age, reducing the ability to dissipate any heat. Again, attention to these weaknesses can improve performance. Just the awareness that your body does not dissipate heat as efficiently as before, allows you to prepare ahead of time to forestall any declines in performance. You can pack ice socks, cold beverages and use other cooling strategies, in advance of an anticipated struggle to dissipate heat. Cold also poses a challenge to the elderly. This is because the body is less able to constrict vasculature in order to keep the blood closer to the core. Simple awareness can be hugely beneficial, and an older athlete can pack layers and clothing that they need to manage the cold.

Altitude is one area where we do not observe any differences in performance between older adults and younger adults. Both cohorts find high-altitude exercise equally challenging.


What we learn is that even though there are areas where the body does experience a natural decline with age, training can compensate for that decline, and in some cases, even allow older athletes to compete with younger counterparts. We also find that for non-professional athletes, it is possible to reach peak fitness after the age of 35, because their bodies have not been fully optimized.

Indeed, declines in performance should be seen as feedback into where your training should be focused, rather than a white flag of surrender.

Just as your brain continues to adapt and evolve with age, your body also adapts and evolves. You need to engage this process more consciously, so that you can slow down declines or even reverse them where possible.

Adaptation and evolution are not just athletic concepts, they are concepts that every business needs to keep in mind. To learn more about your business, visit this site

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