Reverse Aging by Pedaling Forward

June 21, 2009 by  
Filed under health

aging-clocka
I was just thinking the other day about how good I felt after finishing my 11-mile bike ride to work. I have not felt this good in many years, if ever. My regular bike ride to work has made me feel younger and look younger (according to my wife, friends, family and colleagues). It has given me solid improvement on my physical strength and my overall physical condition (losing 30 pounds and blood pressure going from 141/91 down to 129/82). My bike riding and better eating habits, has actually turned back the aging clock for me.

I took a quick look on the web and read that the British Journal of Sports Medicine, did a report on aerobic fitness in 2008. (http://bjsm.bmj.com/) The report states that, “ Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond could delay the aging process by more than a decade and prolong independent living.” Regular aerobic exercise improves the body’s ability to take in oxygen and use it, but a person’s maximal aerobic power falls steady as people age.

Twenty years ago, Dr. R. J. Shephard of the University of Toronto in Ontario and his colleagues proposed that adequate aerobic capacity was a key factor in helping very old people to maintain a high quality of life and live independently. In a review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Shephard analyzes the latest data on the issue.
bike-ride

According to Shephard, studies of aerobic training response in older people have shown that workouts, especially more intense physical activity maintained for a longer duration, can improve aerobic power. In fact, seven studies of this type of exercise found people’s aerobic power increased nearly 25 percent, equivalent to reversing 12 years worth of aging-related loss of fitness.

Based on his review, Shephard concludes that elderly people who engage in progressive aerobic training can maintain their independence longer, in effect by turning back the clock on the loss of aerobic fitness that occurs with aging.

Other positive spin-offs of aerobic fitness include reduced risks of serious illness, faster recovery after injury or illness, and reduced risks of falls due to maintenance of muscle power, balance and coordination.

“There remains a need to clarify the importance of deteriorations in fitness relative to other potential causes of dependency but, from the practical viewpoint, regular aerobic activity can address many of the issues of both functional loss and chronic disease,” he writes.

There seems to be a report done on everything these days and some of them seem to support how I feel and how I look. How I do love the internet!

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