Leaden achy legs

Biking Granny
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Leaden achy legs

Postby Biking Granny » 20 Aug 2018, 1:08pm

I'm new to this forum but not to cycling. I went out yesterday on my bike for the first time for months. I have sore legs after walking for a length of time and thought I'd try the bike again. I have an electric one which is great but I don't think of it as as good exercise and find it heavy as I'm only 5 feet tall and not big.
Went for approx 25 minutes, some wind in the face on the way back and today my legs are heavy and feel leaden.
What to do? I'm not a young thing but don't want to give the exercise up
I also play golf but find I'm only able to 9 holes as that too makes my legs ache like mad.
Advice welcome...the doc says 'you mustn't expect to do as much as you get older' Hardly the answer I'm looking for.

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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Aug 2018, 1:45pm

Use a low gear, do short rides several times a week, like the food store
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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby gbnz » 20 Aug 2018, 5:44pm

Biking Granny wrote: I went out yesterday on my bike for the first time for months...... today my legs are heavy and feel leaden..

If if you haven't undertaken a particular form of exercise for months, it'd be unusual if the muscles affected didn't feel heavy and leaden. I only swim over the summer, so wasn't at all surprised that my first swim three months ago left my shoulders muscles in agony the next day (Nb. I'm back to being the fastest in the pool - amazing how an hour a day, five times a week make a difference - plus the heavy aches didn't reappear after that first outing).

In terms of age, it must be relevant to what you're used to? My mothers nearly 80 but still climbs munros for 8-9 weeks of the year (Nb. Cut back from her previous 3-4 months backpacking/climbing when she hit 70 odd). Her walking pace is still fast enough to force me to struggle to keep up.

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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby foxyrider » 20 Aug 2018, 11:22pm

Start off steadily and build up over a few weeks. Using muscles in a way they aren't used to will always result in some fatigue.

It's a related question, but do you take statins? - the medical profession are keen to promote them but pretty much ignore the side effects which often appear as less mobility and stiff joints. Stopping taking them can have almost immediate improvement results of course your doctor won't like that.

Stick with it, let us know how you get on.
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Marcus Aurelius
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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby Marcus Aurelius » 21 Aug 2018, 1:50am

Your lactate threshold isn’t as high as you need it to be. You’ve been in anaerobic respiration for too long during your ride and the lactic acid has built up in your leg muscles. You’ll need to work on improving your lactate threshold if you want to avoid the ‘John wayne walk of shame’. The better your C.V. fitness gets, the more effort you can ride with without getting ‘lactic / Haribo legs’

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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby cotswolds » 22 Aug 2018, 9:36am

Pretty much agree with everything everyone else has said. I train with a running club, and if our legs ache the day after a training session we think it must have been a really good session.

If you ask your muscles to do more than they're used to, they get slightly damaged and the body responds by rebuilding them a bit stronger than they were. This is what is happening in your legs at the moment and will keep happening until your muscles are strong enough to do what you're asking of them. All perfectly normal, and a young athlete wouldn't think twice about it. As you get older you can still increase your muscle mass, it just takes longer.

As others have said, build up slowly and allow your body time to respond. Allow yourself a recovery day (or two) if your legs feel bad - athletes tend to alternate tough days and recovery days (the ones that don't get injured). Make sure you're eating the right things - building muscle requires protein and if your diet tends to be protein light you might want to consider eating a bit more. Gentle massage improves the circulation and speeds the recovery process.

Stick with it, the aches are almost certainly a sign that you're doing your body good.

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Re: Leaden achy legs

Postby Vorpal » 22 Aug 2018, 10:41am

Perfectly normal!

Don't give up. Set yourself some goals, like riding your bike every other day. Take shorter rides (maybe just down to the shops, if there is something near?) until you feel comfortable with them, then gradually increase.

'you can't expect much as you get older' is baloney. It might take longer to build up, or feel worse if you overdo it, but there's no reason that you canæt be fit. You haven't said how old you are, but if it doesn't improve in a few weeks, go back to the GP and tell them you want a better answer!

For inspiration, here's a thread about the record for the oldest person to do the Land's End to John o'Groats (LEJoG) ride.

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