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How long does it take to notice the benefits of cycling?

GSDogGSDog Posts: 129
edited May 2009 in MTB beginners
Hi all.

I have started cycling again recently after a 6 year break. I am recovering from a nasty long term illness where I spent 95% of my time housebound, doing very little exercise, for roughly 6 years...
It's great to be outside again and I really enjoy cycling but I am incredibly unfit. I don't look unfit despite being ill for this long but just a few minutes of cycling would have me breathless and my legs are weak.

I've only been cycling for about 2 weeks now and I think I am already seeing some improvements.
I can't wait to start cycling further distances and to be able to go through my local woods, etc.

I was just wondering how long it took you to see a significant improvement in fitness when you started cycling.

Many thanks.


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I have suffered with repeated bouts of glandular fever and M.E. for the past 7 years, and can sympathise with the staying in bit! I have to take things slowly now, do what I can but not overdo it, with plenty of rest. I find that small improvements are made of a fair period of time, months rather than weeks.
  • GSDogGSDog Posts: 129
    supersonic wrote:
    I have suffered with repeated bouts of glandular fever and M.E. for the past 7 years, and can sympathise with the staying in bit! I have to take things slowly now, do what I can but not overdo it, with plenty of rest. I find that small improvements are made of a fair period of time, months rather than weeks.

    Thanks. I was also diagnosed with M.E at one point but the diagnosis turned out to be wrong. I had Lyme disease which I caught from a tick bite and because I was misdiagnosed with M.E for so long it had become extremely difficult to treat.
    I am much better now after long term antibiotics but still not 100%.

    Bikers definitely need to watch out for ticks and be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease. It's a very nasty disease, especially if it's left without treatment.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Glad to hear you are getting better. One of the contributors to the WMB magazine had Lyme disease and has told me how it affected him: he is doing well now though!

    I think the same advice applies though, listen to your body, rest well, and gradually build up.
  • I started mountain biking again after many many years away from it, but the benefits have been fantastic.

    I started properly again on Boxing Day, where I struggled to do 5 miles and at one point found that my heart was trying to escape though my chest wall at the top of one climb.

    I have subseqently tried to ride on a regular basis, and since loosing my job at the end of jan, have been riding 3/4 times per week. I have built up the riding distance gradually, resulting in a challenging 30 mile ride that I did today. Although my legs were a little weary, I felt fantastic at the end of it.

    I have also gone down a size in jeans (good excuse to buy some new ones) and no long feel lathargic and knackered after doing nothing all day.

    The hard bit will be when I get back to work, but I am sure I can put that idea off for a while yet.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    I returned to 'proper' cycling after a long break and although I was still in shape due to running and football I still found my first few rides totally destroyed my legs, and as for the pain in my backside....blimey.

    All fine now though but it was a few months before I really felt strong on the bike.
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  • I'm just a week back into biking after about 3 years out... I saw some photo's of myself at a recent party and noticed just how fat I was getting!

    I've ridden bikes in anger since I was a teenager (I'm past 30 now) and drifted in and out of it ever since. I'm a large-ish bloke - 6'2" and 17stone, but I've got some underlying fitness still - I'm doing gentle rides between 8 and 15 miles at the minute. I've ridden into work for the first time today (12 miles), which feels good.

    The most important thing, I've found, is planning - Don't stick to the same route; don't stick to the same pace and don't forget your rest days. I'm feeling better after just a week in the saddle, though I'm sure a lot of it's psychological as much as anything else.
  • tremtrem Posts: 1
    I started cycling to work on January 5th after my wife bought me a mountain bike. I reckon 1 month of daily cycling (~7 miles/day) is the exact amount to really feel the benefits.
    I've always ran, but never consistently. Cycling to work has made me do consistent exercise.

    I think that routine is key, make cycling a part of your day to day activity (which may not be easy)

    Hope your well on the way to full recovery

  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Its amazing how quickly your fitness builds up if can ride to work - I try to do two days a week minimum if I can (it's 7 miles each way, so that's 14 miles a day, twice a week) although given that I don't always work in the office it isn't always possible!

    That said, it gives a reasonable level of fitness that lets me do a decent run at weekends without killing myself.
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  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Yeah, I was amazed how fast I improved... Particularily because my right leg's basically a wreck, broken hip followed 6 months after by damaged knee, and 8 months out of that year on crutches! But I went from being basically dead after 10 minutes, to being able to ride all day with my mates and blast my commute at a dead sprint, in just a few months. I'm still needing to get better, my recovery times are awful- I just can't ride 2 days in a row, at all- but it's getting there. And the best bit is it just happens without you really trying while you ride!

    But the off-bike benefits come along too... I ran for the bus for ages the other day without even thinking about it, and caught the thing for once, and I wasn't even out of breath... a year ago I could barely run 10 steps.
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  • mongoosedmongoosed Posts: 315
    I started to cycle again in January,and my general fitness has greatly improved,i really noticed it today i had 3hrs round my local CP and was biking quite hard but no pain in legs plus i've changed my diet etc all good.
  • REMFREMF Posts: 106
    i started riding a month ago after a 15 year break, already i can do 25 km trails whereas when i started i was wrecked after 6 km.

    so a month of hard riding will work wonders.
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