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Why Is Cycling Better Than Running for People Over 40?

Nov 26, 2019 by

When it comes to sports, one thing that rings true for most athletes is the idea that each individual has their own idea of the perfect workout. Because of personal preferences, different fitness levels, and individual goals, it is difficult to say that one form of exercise is better than the other.

However, as a general rule for those wanting a good workout without damaging their joints, cycling does indeed seem to be more preferable to a higher-impact sport like running, according to a study by researchers at Appalachian State University.  

Cyclists Have Less Inflammation

In the study, researchers analyzed blood samples from cyclists and runners who engaged in their sport at a competitive level. The athletes, ages 19 to 45, exercises in a lab setting at an intensity of 70% of their VO2 max. Blood samples were then taken from them at 1, 14, and 38 hours post-workout.

The findings showed that runners face more inflammation and soreness than cyclists. Cycling, on the other hand, allowed the athletes to enjoy longer workouts because the damage on the body is less. The researchers, therefore, recommended that long-distance runners in particular to include a variety of workouts into their routine, using other exercise types like swimming or cycling as a way to keep their cardiovascular fitness up while causing less inflammation and pain.

Introducing Resistance into Your Workout

Runners can embrace a little resistance in their training by opting to run up steep inclines. However, if you are over 40 or 50 years of age, this type of effort may push you over your ideal maximum heartbeats per minute, which can be calculated by subtracting your age from 220.

Cycling makes it easier to control your heart rate while working on resistance at the same time. This can be done on flat roads by riding on a lower gear while using a fitness tracker to ensure your heart rate is within ideal levels. If you prefer mountain biking, all the resistance you need will be provided by the terrain, especially if you enjoy downhill riding – since you have to ride up first! 

A mountain bike with good suspension is key to prevent joint damage. If you are riding up steep hills, take it slow or even consider an electric mountain bike, which you can use to give you a tiny push up the steepest part of the hill. An electric bike should not be considered ‘cheating’ since you will still have to do loads of work when the battery runs out or when you simply opt to pedal manually. 

Using a Thumper Massager to Quell Pain

If your legs are a little sore following either cycling or running, using a Thumper Massager can help reduce muscle tension and may provide the soothing relief you seek. For home users, we have the Thumper Sport. A high-quality percussive massager can provide the benefits of a deep tissue massage while reducing the ‘burn’ you can feel after a tough vertical climb.

Many runners over 40 and 50 are content to continue with their chosen sport and, provided their joints are in good condition and they have a high fitness level, there is no reason why they should give it up. However, scientists have found that adding a bit of variety to their workout can help to reduce soreness and inflammation. Cycling is a perfect sport for athletes this age because of its ability to provide a cardiovascular and resistance workout, without putting too much stress on the joints or the heart.

As long as you get some physical exercise in your day, it doesn’t matter what you do! As long as you do it safely and regularly. Stay Active!

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