You’re unique. You’re similar to other riders in some ways and differ in other ways. In these Experiment of One columns I give you a number of different Anti-Aging columns from which you can read the ones most applicable to the unique you.
“I have achieved my seventy years in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else… I will offer here, as a sound maxim, this: That we can’t reach old age by another man’s road.” — Mark Twain
Anti-Aging: Experiment of One, pt. 1 covered:
- Physiological effects of aging
- Research on aging and exercise
- Aerobic exercise
- The role of intensity
- Recovery, increasingly important as we age
- Losing and regaining fitness
The following are nine columns I wrote around Thanksgiving when my biological age was 67. Although the calendar says I’m 74 now, I feel like a 60-something. I ride on the road, mountain bike, hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe almost as well as seven years ago. And we’ve taken up kayaking — a great upper body workout on a recovery day from cycling and hiking.
“Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.” – Will Rogers
Here’s how I stay (relatively) young:
As you age your overall health and fitness would decline at an accelerating rate if you didn’t exercise consistently. This is the normal geriatric curve. However, the more you exercise all aspects of fitness — cardio, strength, flexibility, balance and weight-bearing — the slower you lose fitness. Squaring the geriatric curve means staying as fit as possible in all the aspects of fitness and then dropping dead.
“I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.” – T. S. Eliot
Athletic Maturity gauges your overall fitness and maturity as an athlete relative to the New Exercise Recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The more athletically mature you are, the more you are slowing the physiological aging process despite aging chronologically. Take the quiz in this column to gauge your Athletic Maturity. It gauges your aerobic and cycling fitness; your upper and lower body and core strength; body weight, flexibility and balance. The quiz is a gross assessment to suggest where you might improve, not empirical exact measure of your fitness.
You can read more here:
Confession: I only stretch and do core exercises once or twice per week. I know 3 or 4 days would be better, but I’d rather play doing my various types of outdoor activities.
I share examples of the Athletic Maturities of some RBR contributors and give you ways to improve your Athletic Maturity.
“Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” – Theodore Roosevelt.
IV. Act Now
I review the recommendations from the ACSM and discuss how to incorporate these into your individual life.
“If you’re not getting older, you’re dead.” – Tom Petty
V. 105 Isn’t Old!
I report on the amazing achievement by Robert Marchand, a 105-year-old cyclist who set a one-hour record of 22.547 km (14 miles). After a busy career he started cycling again at age 68. I then draw lessons from his training for all of us.
“Just remember, once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” — Arthur Schopenhauer
Staying as fit as possible — slowing your personal geriatric curve — rests on four pillars: 1. Consistency, 2. Intensity, 3. Recovery and 4. Enjoyment.
Consistency is important in three ways:
- During the week
- Throughout the year
- Year by year
I explain how to individualize these.
“When you are old like me you never stop for too long. If you stop for too long you just won’t be able to get going again. Every morning you need to do something.” — Robert Marchand
According to the ACSM, “Interval-based exercise is a powerful tool for improving exercise performance and health.” This column explains As you get older, how much you work out and how hard you work out bothdetermine how fit you stay. You can read more here:
“I have a new approach to being a ‘Superager’,” says Elizabeth Wicks, who turns 80 next year. “You must expend enough effort that you feel some ‘yuck.’ Do it till it hurts, and then a bit more.”
The increase in how much recovery you need is one of the most obvious signs of aging. This column discusses three ways to increase your recovery:
- Reduce your total training volume.
- Reduce other life stressors that affect the need for recovery.
- Improve the quality of your recovery.
Mountain bike cycling legend Ned Overend on training as he ages: “I do exactly what I’ve always done; it just takes me longer.” Overend listens to his body and realizes he needs more recovery
Permission not to suffer!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
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.