“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” — Mark Twain
You’re unique. You’re similar to other riders in some ways and differ in other ways. In this series of Experiment of One columns I’m giving you a number of different anti-aging columns from which you can read the ones most applicable to the unique you.
- Anti-Aging: Experiment of One, pt. 1 covered the physiological effects of aging, research on exercise and aging, training, intensity, learning from mistakes, and losing and regaining fitness.
- Anti-Aging: Experiment of One, pt. 2 covered how to gauge your athletic maturity, how to improve your athletic maturity and the four pillars of slowing aging: 1) Consistency, 2) Intensity, 3) Recovery and 4) Enjoyment.
How Old is Old?
“Getting old is a fascinating thing. The older you get, the older you want to get.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist, and poet.
My reunion with a dozen cycling buddies my age and how we’ve changed our activities over time.
Different ways of thinking about your age including your chronological age, your life expectancy, your physical and mental capacity and your athletic maturity.
What to do when your body starts to wear out including the medical, cycling and mental aspects.
In 2019 83-year old Joe Shami, of Lafayette, CA climbed Mount Diablo for the 500th consecutive week. Diablo (3,849 ft.) is at sea level about 40 miles east of San Francisco, CA. Most of the 11-mile climb averages 8 percent with sections of 10-12 percent. “The wall” the final stretch to the top is 17-19 percent.
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan, American feminist writer and activist.
To slow and even reverse the effects of aging, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends regular exercise of the following types:
- Aerobic and high intensity aerobic exercise
- Muscle strength training
- Balance activities
- Flexibility exercise
- Weight bearing exercise
You can read more here.
Activities of Daily Living
A friend has trouble bending all the way down to put on his shoes so he bought a two foot long shoe horn. Another friend loves skiing but is giving up the sport because he has difficulty getting up when he falls. A third friend fell, broke his hip and is in a rehab center for a month. All of these difficulties with the activities of daily living could have been prevented if my friends had worked on all five of the areas recommended by the ACSM. I covered the ACSM’s recommendation #1 aerobic and high intensity aerobic exercise in Anti-Aging: Experiment of One, pt. 1. I’ll cover #2, #3, #4 and #5 in this column.
“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym.” — Bill Nye, American mechanical engineer, best known as the host of the television show Bill Nye the Science Guy.
#2 Muscle Strength Training
I’ve written four relevant columns:
I explain in detail the four reasons: 1. Improved power and cycling economy; 2. Preventing atrophy; 3. Weight management; and 4. Weight bearing exercise
I start with a detailed explanation of the ACSM’s recommendation for resistance trainings. I then give you illustrated exercises with variations for your lower body, upper body, upper back and core.
Improving your core strength is one of the ways to slow – even reverse – your declining performance. I explain the core muscles and why crunches don’t work these important muscles. I give you three different groups of exercises: 1) various bridging exercises, 2) different types of the plank and 3) variations on the bird dog.
I give you a half dozen different leg exercises using your body weight, not dumbbells and barbells. These are illustrated with photos.
“My ultimate fear is that when I die my wife sells my bikes for what I told her I paid for them.” — Sean Power, Canadian actor
This may seem like an irrelevant recommendation to cyclists. You have no problem staying on your bike, right? I explain why that isn’t sufficient and give you nine different exercises to work on your balance.
Of course, stability on your bike is also critical. I give you 20 different drills.
“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt
I explain how to stretch and give you nine key stretches illustrated with photos.
“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” — David Bowie, English singer, songwriter, musician, and actor.
#5 Weight Bearing Exercise
Use it or lose it applies to all parts of you, including your skeleton. Total bone mass peaks around age 35. As you age your older bones constantly break down and your body makes new bone content. Weaker bones are more likely to break and result in time off the bike or even a trip to the rehab center. How much new bone content your body makes is a function of how much you overload your bones. I give you nine different exercises to strengthen your bones. I then describe the roles of calcium and vitamin D.
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” — John Lennon
Older people are at greater risk for cramps simply because of our age.
I explain how you can reduce the risk of cramps by maintaining your muscle mass and working on your flexibility. I describe ways to ride to reduce the risk of cramping. Finally, I explain how to break a cramp if one strikes you.
My Cycling Past 50 Bundle includes:
- Healthy Cycling Past 50 – what happens as we age and how to incorporate cycling and other exercise activities into our daily lives to stay healthy and active for many years.
- Healthy Nutrition Past 50 – what to eat and drink to support both a healthy lifestyle and continuing performance.
- Performance Cycling Past 50 – how to train to achieve more specific cycling goals given the physiological changes of aging.
- Off-Season Conditioning Past 50 – how to best work on your off-season conditioning given the physiological changes of aging.
The 94-page Cycling Past 50 Bundle is $15.96.
My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process incorporates the latest research and most of it is new material not published in my previous eBooks on cycling past 50, 60 and beyond.
The book explains how to get the most benefit from your endurance rides. It has sample training plans to increase your annual riding miles and to build up to rides of 25-, 50-, 100- and 200-miles. The book explains why intensity training is important, the pros and cons of gauging intensity using rate of perceived exertion, heart rate and power. It includes how to do intensity exercise and different intensity workouts. It integrates endurance and intensity training into an annual plan for optimal results.
Anti-Aging describes the importance of strength training and includes 28 exercises for lower body, upper body and core strength illustrated with photos. It includes an annual plan to integrate strength training with endurance and intensity training. It also has 14 stretches illustrated with photos.
Anti-Aging includes an annual plan to put together all six of the aspects of aging well: cardiorespiratory exercise, intensity training, strength workouts, weight-bearing exercise, stretching and balance. The book concludes with a chapter on motivation.
The 106-page Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process your comprehensive guide to continuing to ride well into your 80s and even your 90s. The 106-page eBook is $15.95.
Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written over 40 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John’s full bio.