“Act Now.” No, this isn’t a sales pitch on late night television! Even if you’re a young 50-something now is the time to start taking care of all aspects of your physical condition, not just riding your bike!
Last week I wrote about the Physiological Changes with Aging.
Duke study: Physical Aging Begins Earlier than Expected
Recent research confirms what many roadies experience: that the decline in current physical fitness starts in one’s 50s. Scientists at Duke University studied a group of 775 participants with ages ranging from the 30s to the 100s. All of the participants did the same activities to demonstrate strength, endurance or balance: getting up from a chair repeatedly for 30 seconds; standing on one leg for a minute; walking for six minutes and walking speed over a distance of about 10 yards.
“The age at which declines in physical ability began to appear – in the decade of the 50s – were consistent regardless of gender or other demographic features.”
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) makes recommendations so that adults’ health and fitness declines age normally rather than prematurely. The ACSM Position Stand on Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults contains the following major conclusions:
Although no amount of physical activity can stop the biological aging process, regular exercise can minimize the physiological effects.
Ideally, exercise for healthy aging should include a combination of aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises.
A combination of regular aerobic and resistance training exercises is more effective at combating the effects of the aging process than either form of training alone.
Individuals who are at risk for falling or mobility impairment should also perform specific exercises to improve balance.
Although higher-intensity training programs are effective, physical activity does not need to be high-intensity to prevent chronic conditions. Exercise must be performed consistently to have lasting benefits. The benefits of a single exercise session are relatively short-lived.
Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process is your comprehensive guide to aging well. The 106-page eBook is available for $14.99
Anti-Aging includes an annual plan to put together all six of the aspects of aging well: cardiovascular exercise, intensity training, strength workouts, weight-bearing exercise, stretching and balance. The book concludes with a chapter on motivation.
The book describes the physiological changes that take place as you age, how to assess your current fitness and the training principles that apply to older roadies.
Coach Hughes incorporates the latest research and most of it is new material not published in his previous eArticles on cycling past 50, 60 and beyond.
Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process gives you the tools you need to slow the inevitable decline in your health and fitness.
Anti-Aging describes the physiological changes that take place as you age, how to assess your current fitness and the training principles that apply to older roadies.
For overall good health the ACSM recommends year-round:
Cardiorespiratory: Most days of the week you should do moderate cardio to total a minimum of 150 minutes / week up to 300 minutes / week. Or you could do 75 – 150 minutes of intense cardio. Or you could do a combination of moderate and intense cardio.
Strength training: You should do strength training two to three days / week, which should include exercises for all major muscle groups (shoulders, arms, chest, core, hips, and legs). 30 minutes / session is plenty.
Stretching/flexibility exercises: You should stretch all parts of your body at least four times a week — it only takes 5 – 10 minutes per session.
Weight-bearing exercises: Riding — even sprinting — doesn’t load your skeleton as much as plain walking! You should do 30 – 60 minutes a day three to five days a week of weight-bearing exercise. Your strength training and some types of aerobic exercise also help to strengthen your bones.
Balance exercises: You should do balance drills both for general mobility and cycling safety.
The ACSM’s key point is that total body fitness is one component that supports a long healthy and active life. Good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, how you avail yourself of medical care and your genetics are the other components of staying fit for life as long as possible.
Do you include all five of the above types of exercises in your weekly activities? This would take a lot of time, wouldn’t it? It doesn’t have to — you can incorporate much of these into your activities of daily living. According to the ACSM as little as 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is beneficial — even commuting and running errands on your bike helps! You may not want to give up riding time to go hiking with a pack for strong bones — could you climb up and down the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator? For balance try standing on one leg while brushing your teeth.
Where are you in terms of implementing all five of the ACSM’s recommendations? Now is the time to get started.
My new eBook describes in detail how best to meet and exceed the ACSM’s recommendations to combat the effects of aging. Read Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process.
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 nearly 30 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John's full bio.