You likely know that I'm passionate about cycling. Well I thought I would share with you the results of some really interesting research on cycling and aging.
The study I'm referring to was published in the Journal of Physiology. It involved 120 cyclists aged 55-79. Subjects were considered to be very fit: Men had to be able to cycle 100 km in less than 6.5 hours, and women 60 km in less than 5.5 hours.
One of the most fascinating results from the study was that researchers failed to find any of the obvious signs of aging that would normally be observed among people of the same age. The group showed few of the typical signs of aging that it was not possible to make generalizations about the aging process.
What is going on here you might ask yourself? Maybe dressing up in tight spandex is good for your health...haha
Here are a few of my favorite observations from the lead researcher of the study:
"We had assumed that there is a linear straight line decline in physiology with aging but that is very unlikely to be the case. We're not saying we're reversing aging but that cycling seems to optimize the aging process."
"Because most of the population is largely sedentary, the tendency is to assume that inactivity is the inevitable condition for humans. However, given that our genetic inheritance stems from a period when high levels of physical activity were the likely norm, being physically active should be considered to play an essential role in maintaining health and well-being throughout life."
"The main problem facing health research is that in modern societies the majority of the population is inactive. A sedentary lifestyle causes physiological problems at any age."
"Hence the confusion as to how much the decline in bodily functions is due to the natural aging process and how much is due to the combined effects of aging and in activity."
My take home thoughts:
- Exercise more. Move more, your body was designed to move and be active. Exercising for 60 minutes and then sitting at a desk all day won't cut it. Walk more, stand more, ride your bike to work
- Cycling is likely not the only form of exercise that helps to keep you young. What I think is likely a contributing factor to slowing the aging process is the amount of time cyclists spend cycling. (I ride at least 10 hours per week, often 15-20 hours).
- We don't really know the true effects of aging, so there is no reason why you can't start exercising more now and become/stay young for as long as you want.
- Ask me to join my awesome cycling club, "Fulgas Cycle Club"