Happy Thanksgiving! We don’t have enough snow in the mountains of Colorado to ski yet so my wife and I are head in Santa Fe and Taos for some New Mexican sunshine and culture … and perhaps burritos, chile rellanos, chips and salsa instead of turkey.
Here are nine columns I wrote when my biological age was 67. Although the calendar says I’m 72 now, I feel like a 60-something. I ride on the road, mountain bike, hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe almost as well as five years ago. And we’ve taken up kayaking — a great upper body workout on a recovery day from cycling and hiking.
Here’s how I stay (relatively) young:
I. Squaring the Geriatric Curve 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. 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 aspects of fitness and then dropping dead.
II. How Athletically Mature Are You? Athletic Maturity gauges your overall fitness and maturity as an athlete. The more mature you are the more you are slowing the physiological aging process despite chronologically aging. Take the quiz in this column to gauge your Athletic Maturity.
III. Ways to Improve Your Athletic Maturity I share examples of the Athletic Maturities of some RBR contributions and give you ways to improve your Athletic Maturity.
IV. Act Now The recommendations of the American College of Sports Medicine.
V. 105 Isn’t Old! Lessons from a 105-year-old cyclist who set a one-hour record of 22.547 km (14 miles).
VI. The Four Pillars – No. 1 is Consistency Staying as fit as possible — slowing your personal geriatric curve — rests on four pillars: 1. Consistency, 2. Intensity, 3. Recovery and 4. Enjoyment.
VII. The Four Pillars – No. 2 is Intensity How to slow the decline in your aerobic capacity.
VIII. The Four Pillars – No. 3 is Recovery The increase in how much recovery you need is one of the most obvious signs of aging. Here are three ways to increase your recovery so you can continue intensity training.
IX. The Four Pillars – No. 4 is Enjoyment Permission not to suffer!
“Live long and prosper.” — Spock
My eBook Off-Season Conditioning Past 50includes information on endurance and intensity workouts, cycling outdoors, indoor cycling, cross-training, strength training and more. I combine these into a sample 12-week program with options for people with limited time to train, beginning cyclists, health and fitness riders, club and recreational cyclists and endurance riders. The 26-page Off-Season Conditioning Past 50is $4.99.
My Cycling Past 60 Bundle Part 1: For Health and Part 2: For Recreation describes how if you exercise correctly you can slow the effects of aging; if you exercise incorrectly, you can speed up aging. I describe how your whole body ages. Cycling only keeps relatively young the cardiopulmonary system. If all you do is ride, you lose muscle mass, bone density, flexibility and balance, which you need for activities of daily living. I give you six different health maintenance objectives for different components of your physiology and comprehensive fitness programs that address these objectives. I show you how to gauge your “athletic maturity” to assess your relative fitness in terms of each of these aspects of good health. I include three balanced, full-body exercise programs for different cyclists of different athletic maturities. I also provide nutrition tips for healthy aging as well as advice on the importance of rest, recovery and sleep. The 47-page Cycling Past 60 Bundle Part 1: For Health and Part 2: For Recreation is only $8.98.
My eBook Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process includes chapters on how to meet the ACSM’s recommendations on aerobic, high intensity aerobic, strength training, weight-bearing exercises, balance and flexibility. I include sample weeks and months for different types and amounts of exercise. I give you plans to build up to 100 km and 100 mile rides. I include a plan to increase over two years your annual riding from around 4,000 miles (6,500 km) to over 5,000 miles (8,000 km) a year. You can easily modify the plans for different annual amounts of riding. I discuss the importance of recovery and how to gauge if you are getting enough recovery. I combine the different kinds of training into programs that balance training and recovery. The 106-page Anti-Aging: 12 Ways You Can Slow the Aging Process is $14.99.
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.