Riders cheat ageing

A client of Chris’ sent in this interesting article, which he thought might be of interest (thank you!)

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If you think that all your bike riding makes you feel years younger, you are right.  A ground-breaking new study into the process of ageing has unexpectedly proved it.

King’s College London and the University of Birmingham studied a group of fit older riders hoping to discover more about how getting older impaired the function of the body and mind.

(They selected fit research subjects so the research would not be clouded by the impact of sedentary behaviour, which can create the symptoms of ageing.)

Instead they found that the riders had levels of physiological function that matched that of much younger people, establishing that getting older does not automatically make you frail.

The study, published in The Journal of Physiology, studied 84 male and 41 female keen riders aged 55 to 79 to look for markers that establish stages in the ageing process.

The participants had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours (men) and 60 km in 5.5 hours (women).

Participants underwent two days of laboratory testing at King’s. For each participant, a physiological profile was established which included measures of cardiovascular, respiratory, neuromuscular, metabolic, endocrine and cognitive functions, bone strength, and health and well-being. Volunteers’ reflexes, muscle strength, oxygen uptake during exercise and peak explosive cycling power were determined.

The overall result was that the subjects functioned as healthy young adults, not as older people. The only tests where there was some degree of correlation with age was on oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) and strength.

Professor Stephen Harridge, senior author and Director of the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences at King’s College London where the study took place, said: “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.”

Emeritus Professor Norman Lazarus, a member of the King’s team and also a cyclist, said: “Inevitably, our bodies will experience some decline with age, but staying physically active can buy you extra years of function compared to sedentary people.

“Cycling not only keeps you mentally alert, but requires the vigorous use of many of the body’s key systems, such as your muscles, heart and lungs which you need for maintaining health and for reducing the risks associated with numerous diseases.”

Source: www.bicyclenetwork.com.au

Original article source: J Physiol 0.0 (2014) pp 1–24

 

Let’s all stay fit!!

– Chris

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