11 June 2010

Good news for "the older crew"


Endurance champion

I saw this in this week's Road Bike Rider newsletter. There's hope yet. No mention of beer and pies though.....

How Old Before I Fold?
Q: I'm 44 and in the best shape of my life. But I wonder if I'm about to start losing it as I close in on 50. How many more years can I maintain my present cycling fitness? -- Barry C.

Coach Fred Matheny Replies: At 64, both Ed and I are still hanging in there, although recovery time has certainly increased over the years.
We and some roadies we know managed to keep improving into our 50s. In fact, Ed and I each rode a 40-km (25-mile) time trial faster than ever at that age, and we'd been racing the event since our 20s. So I believe you still have lots of good years to look forward to.
In preparation for my talk on "Aging and the Cyclist" at a medical conference, I did quite a bit of research on this subject.
Studies show that although sedentary people lose their ability to consume oxygen (VO2 max) at a rate of about 1% a year after age 40, active people lose only 0.5%. And competitors who continue a long-term vigorous training program might lose only about 0.25% annually.
In fact, some life-long endurance athletes have actually improved their oxygen uptake between ages 45 and 55.

Their secrets:
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Consistent training. Keep it up month after month, year after year, and never take lengthy layoffs. The cliches are true: Use it or lose it. When you rest, you rust.
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Hard efforts. Don't just cruise on your bike by gearing down and backing off when the going gets tough. Ride with intensity. Attack the hills, attack your friends. Vigorous pedaling preserves oxygen uptake better than spinning.
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Weight training. This helps keep strength high and body fat levels low. Most people gain fat and lose muscle as they age even if their bodyweight stays constant. Lift consistently to preserve precious muscle mass.
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Healthful lifestyle. Avoid risky habits and behaviors. Stay active and motivated by finding ways to keep cycling fun. Ride with others, buy a new bike, find different roads, accept the challenges of racing or long-distance events.
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Longevity genes. Some people seem to age slower than others. Did you choose the right parents?

For good measure, here is another old cyclist:

4 comments:

James said...

Ok I've come away with two things from this!

1/. Attack my friends
2/. Get new bikes.

So to keep it simple all I need to do is the following:

Attack my friends, get new bikes


So, who is riding this Sunday?

TOM said...

James, I'm riding both Saturday (VLAAMS asaren "plus alpha") & Sunday (recovery/cool-down ride).

For Sunday, where do you want to go?

James said...

Tom the plan was to ride out to fussa, up Tomin no Mori and back down to Ome and the Tamagawa river.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Very nice post, and reassuring to know I'm basically doing the right thing. I don't normally attack my friends though - much prefer duelling unknown riders on climbs or in the flats...