• Cyclists Age Better? Yes!

    As most of my regular clients know, I am an avid cyclist. I spent all of January and February waxing poetic about those early spring rides in March only to have those dreams dashed by the endless bomb cyclones of snow that have plagued us this Spring. Thankfully, it appears that we have crossed the threshold of spring. Tulips are popping out of the ground and leaves are appearing on the trees. Early spring is a perfect time to get out of the road to start building up the miles and the muscles so I was very intrigued by an article by renowned sports medicine doctor, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, citing some new studies saying “Cyclists Age Better.”

    Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_ammentorp'>ammentorp / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

    Road cycling for wellness.

    For those that don’t know Dr. Mirkin, He is the Harvard-trained sports medicine doctor that coined the term R.I.C.E. as a method of sports injury recovery (which he now agrees the research doesn’t support but that’s for another article) in his 1978 book The Sportsmedicine Book.

    Here’s the highlights from the studies:

    In one study out of England, 125 amateur cyclists aged 55-79 were studied compared to healthy non-exercisers. All exercisers had been cycling regularly for most of their adult lives.

    • Kicks up the immune system. The thymus gland produced as many T-cells as those of young people. This helps stimulate your immune system to fight off foreign invaders.
    • Larger and Stronger Muscles and Better Use of Oxygen. The vastus lateralis muscle in the upper leg did not show the expected signs of aging and more efficient use of oxygen including less loss of size and strength.
    • Exercise Helps You Live Longer Even if You Already Have Heart Disease. Another study of over 15,000 patients has shown regular exercise after heart attack helps prevent death.

    Dr. Mirkin says, “These studies show that many of the accepted signs of aging come from a lack of exercise, not just from getting older.”

    Talk to your doctor or other health care providers about an appropriate daily exercise program for keeping you active and young-looking as the years go by.  Find an activity that keeps you off the couch and moving. Research how regular exercise helps our brain, too!

    A consistent massage program can help to keep you on the bike, out for your daily walk, on the tennis court, or on your yoga mat. Ask us about frequency and appropriate modalities of massage therapy and bodywork to keep you moving and feeling young! Be on the lookout for information from us about Medicupping VacuTherapy – Our new technique to support athletes with muscular aches and post-event athletic stress and injury. Our runners, cyclists, and CrossFitters LOVE VacuTherapy!


    Journal References:

    1. Ross D. Pollock, Katie A. O’Brien, Lorna J. Daniels, Kathrine B. Nielsen, Anthea Rowlerson, Niharika A. Duggal, Norman R. Lazarus, Janet M. Lord, Andrew Philp, Stephen D. R. Harridge. Properties of the vastus lateralis muscle in relation to age and physiological function in master cyclists aged 55-79 years. Aging Cell, 2018; e12735 DOI: 10.1111/acel.12735
    2. Duggal et al. Major features of Immunesenescence, including Thymic atrophy, are ameliorated by high levels of physical activity in adulthood. Aging Cell, 2018
    3.  Ralph A.H.StewartMDaClaesHeldMD, PhDbcNerminHadziosmanovicMSccPaul W.ArmstrongMDdChristopher P.CannonMDeChristopher B.GrangerMDfEmilHagströmMD, PhDbcJudith S.HochmanMDgWolfgangKoenigMDhijEvaLonnMDkJosé C.NicolauMDlPhilippe GabrielStegMDmnopOlaVedinMDbcLarsWallentinMD, PhDbcHarvey D.WhiteMB ChB, DScaSTABILITY Investigators70, Issue 14 Physical Activity and Mortality in Patients With Stable Coronary Heart Disease, 3 October 2017, Pages 1689-1700

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