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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

View Poll Results: What is Important 50+ "Fitness" for you?
Please check all that are or should be important to you. 1. Aerobic capacity 59 75.64%
2. Muscular strength 59 75.64%
3. Body composition (fat/muscle) 60 76.92%
4. Flexibility (stretching) 52 66.67%
5. Mental Health fitness (lack of anxiety, etc.) 61 78.21%
6. Body chemistry/functioning (BP, cholesterol, etc.) 64 82.05%
7. Mental functioning fitness (solve problems, etc.) 54 69.23%
8. I don't care about fitness. I just bicycle for fun. 6 7.69%
9. Some other aspect - please share below 8 10.26%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 78. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-30-08, 05:47 AM   #1
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What does 50+ "FITNESS" mean to you?

What does 50+ "FITNESS" mean to you?

I keep reading in the 50+ Forum where folks are getting more "fit." Yeah!

But, I think we all have different ideas of fitness, and what we do to achieve fitness.

So, vote for all that are, or you think should be, important to you.

And, share your thoughts below

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Old 07-30-08, 05:58 AM   #2
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First to vote.

In the three years I've been cycling, I've been able to stop my anti-HTN meds in spite of the fact that I've not lost any weight (I use cycling as an excuse to pig out). My resting heart rate has gone fromr ~64 to ~48. And my bowel movements are regular.

Just kidding about that last one.

Now if I'd lose 20 lbs or so I'd be a beast.

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Old 07-30-08, 06:10 AM   #3
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It keeps me alive...
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Old 07-30-08, 06:23 AM   #4
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I chose all of them. Mental and physical fitness are equally important to me.

I think studies have shown that physically active older adults are more mentally alert. Sometimes I do things that make me think I should be a little more active
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Old 07-30-08, 06:55 AM   #5
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I would also describe fitness in terms relative to my being able to function and do the things I want to be able to do. Hence, I'm fit enough to climb a 40 ft ladder to do roof repair, ride 100 miles, frame out the walls for an addition to the house, cut down trees, hike all day long, help family members move, dig ditches (although the recent 60 ft ditch done this summer has left me wondering why I "want" to do this). In any event, fitness has the aspect of being related to functional abilities for activities that are necessary and/or desirable for my quality of life to remain where I want it.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
I would also describe fitness in terms relative to my being able to function and do the things I want to be able to do. Hence, I'm fit enough to climb a 40 ft ladder to do roof repair, ride 100 miles, frame out the walls for an addition to the house, cut down trees, hike all day long, help family members move, dig ditches (although the recent 60 ft ditch done this summer has left me wondering why I "want" to do this). In any event, fitness has the aspect of being related to functional abilities for activities that are necessary and/or desirable for my quality of life to remain where I want it.
A great contribution.

Conversely, I believe that some folks reverse the definition/concept a bit. I.e., they define what they want to be able to do in terms of their fitness and what they CAN do.

I see this in some neighbors - particularly those that are not "fit" by any definition. They wouldn't want to ride a bike 10 miles (because they can't). Therefore, they feel they are "fit" because they are not asking their body to perform anywhere beyind their present capacity. Is this a "form/function" conundrum?
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Old 07-30-08, 08:14 AM   #7
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I got serious (sort of serious) about biking after reading Younger Next Year. I have always been active and used the weight machines at the gym but I never liked aerobic exercise. As I got older (60 at the end of the month) I became concerned about the likelihood of declining quality of life in the 70s and 80s. YNY convinced me that I could potentially knock 10-20 years off my subjective physical age if I added a substantial aerobic component to my routine. The image from YNY that got me was a curve showing how most people physically decline in a steadily increasing downward slope as they age. But with proper exercise you can remain relatively fit with a flat to slight downward curve until you are quite old. At that point the curve drops off a cliff and you die -- I want to increase my odds of going out that way.

So now I am averaging 25 miles about four days a week and have done my age. I feel great. I lost 17 pounds in six months (195 to 178) without dieting. And the greatest benefit is that riding is just plain fun.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:41 AM   #8
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I voted for #s1-7, now I think I should have voted for #9 as well (BSLevan put it nicely). As a fitness professional (certified personal trainer/group exercise instructor/coach) I encourage mental as well as physical fitness. You can have one without the other, however, attaining a balance among your physical, mental, fiscal, and emotional fitness is ideal -- and darned difficult to achieve -- it's a juggling act.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:54 AM   #9
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That's an interesting question. Really never enters my mind. There are always things easier to do than I expect, and things that end up being more work - I wonder whether I'm fit enough briefly. Unfortunately, they're often the same things on different days!

Being able to do what I want to without being hampered by lack of capability, but excepting injuries. I'm nursing a knee that's gradually recovering and a persistent nut problem. Those two things limit my power (I'm at about 1.7 legs instead of 2) and handlebar drop (I'm at 6 cm instead of my preferred 9.5 cm).

I suppose my basic health plays into fitness. But it doesn't really concern me. I had a minor physical for some new insurance yesterday. The examiner indicated I was in very good shape. Apparently my blood pressure and pulse show that I'm fit.

Mainly I know when I'm not fit!
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Old 07-30-08, 10:22 AM   #10
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Maintaining a sane weight through exercise and reasonable eating. And most important right now being fit enough to keep up with my soon to be 3 year old granddaughter.

Choose #9 for the above reasons.

Thought you might enjoy this: granddaughter discovers the floor pump the other day and attempts to dry her hair using the pump.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
A great contribution.

Conversely, I believe that some folks reverse the definition/concept a bit. I.e., they define what they want to be able to do in terms of their fitness and what they CAN do.

I see this in some neighbors - particularly those that are not "fit" by any definition. They wouldn't want to ride a bike 10 miles (because they can't). Therefore, they feel they are "fit" because they are not asking their body to perform anywhere beyind their present capacity. Is this a "form/function" conundrum?
Hmmmm.... Quality of life, in it's simplist form, is what the person says it is in the context of the possibilities available to them. So, if the person is really happy with things the way they are, they don't need to ask their body to perform beyond present capacity. Yet, I would venture a guess that many are not happy with things the way they are. Perhaps they are in denial, or do not see the other possibilities that do exist in their lives. I had a great grandmother who was 78 the year I was born. She lived to be 102. At 95 she was still "fit enough" to bake cookies on a coal fired stove. She was no longer "fit enough" to take down her curtians, wash them by hand and re-hang them, something she did twice a year well into her 80s. At 100 it was the first time I ever heard her say anything about her body not allowing her to do things that made her happy. So, one could argue that she was fit for the first century of her life. It was only the final two years that she struggled with limitations related to fitness.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:10 AM   #12
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For years I have ridden my bikes to stay "fit" in terms of things like ...
keeping my weight under control
avoiding cholesterol medications
looking younger than I am
being able to ride further without tiring

Now I find that all those years of riding has made me fit enough to withstand aggressive chemotherapy so that my doctors and I can kick this cancer's ass and keep it gone.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:50 PM   #13
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Number 8 only for me.

This reads to me like the protestant work ethic at it's most extream. You have to find some objective reason to justify doing the things that you want to do anyway. Didn't you ever do anything just for the hell of it?
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Old 07-30-08, 05:57 PM   #14
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Number 8 only for me.

This reads to me like the protestant work ethic at it's most extream. You have to find some objective reason to justify doing the things that you want to do anyway. Didn't you ever do anything just for the hell of it?
Err . . . to use one of your statements on another thread, edited as appropriate

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That's one of the really neat things about bicycling fitness. There are so many variations. Nobody likes to do them all. Pick and choose the ones you think are fun.
When I wrote the poll, I almost called number 8 the "Retro Grouch" choice!
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Old 07-30-08, 06:01 PM   #15
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9. I ride to maintain my good looks and to try to remain desireable to the opposite sects.

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Old 07-30-08, 06:02 PM   #16
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Fox, given your regimen, commitment etc, how did you vote?
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Old 07-30-08, 06:05 PM   #17
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Fox, given your regimen, commitment etc, how did you vote?
Just click on any of the underlined numbers in the graph chart and you can see how EVERYBODY voted.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:16 PM   #18
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When I wrote the poll, I almost called number 8 the "Retro Grouch" choice!
Wouldn't that have been cool! Even cooler, there are at least 2 other posters who agree with me. (trendsetter doesn't count because he voted for all 9 choices)

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Old 07-30-08, 07:39 PM   #19
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I would also describe fitness in terms relative to my being able to function and do the things I want to be able to do. Hence, I'm fit enough to climb a 40 ft ladder to do roof repair, ride 100 miles, frame out the walls for an addition to the house, cut down trees, hike all day long, help family members move, dig ditches (although the recent 60 ft ditch done this summer has left me wondering why I "want" to do this). In any event, fitness has the aspect of being related to functional abilities for activities that are necessary and/or desirable for my quality of life to remain where I want it.
Well put. That pretty much sums up my own reasons. Mainly, I want to be able to do whatever I set out to do. Cycling is so much fun that it makes me want to go much further than my initial goals...... which, now that I think of it, were set too low.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I got serious (sort of serious) about biking after reading Younger Next Year. I have always been active and used the weight machines at the gym but I never liked aerobic exercise. As I got older (60 at the end of the month) I became concerned about the likelihood of declining quality of life in the 70s and 80s. YNY convinced me that I could potentially knock 10-20 years off my subjective physical age if I added a substantial aerobic component to my routine. The image from YNY that got me was a curve showing how most people physically decline in a steadily increasing downward slope as they age. But with proper exercise you can remain relatively fit with a flat to slight downward curve until you are quite old. At that point the curve drops off a cliff and you die -- I want to increase my odds of going out that way.

So now I am averaging 25 miles about four days a week and have done my age. I feel great. I lost 17 pounds in six months (195 to 178) without dieting. And the greatest benefit is that riding is just plain fun.
I ordered Younger Next Year today from Amazon. Several people in our bike group recommended it. The image of that curve in my mind helps explain why fitness is slower to improve -- and injuries are slower to recover -- in the 50+ years.
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Old 07-30-08, 08:48 PM   #21
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Over 50 Fitness

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I would also describe fitness in terms relative to my being able to function and do the things I want to be able to do. Hence, I'm fit enough to climb a 40 ft ladder to do roof repair, ride 100 miles, frame out the walls for an addition to the house, cut down trees, hike all day long, help family members move, dig ditches (although the recent 60 ft ditch done this summer has left me wondering why I "want" to do this). In any event, fitness has the aspect of being related to functional abilities for activities that are necessary and/or desirable for my quality of life to remain where I want it.
Amen brother! I love being able to ride my bike, do hockey speed drills or go to Traditional Archery tournaments with my boy grandchildren 11 and 12 1/2. I can't wait until my 2 granddaughters are old enough. I have my day job and a small business I do after work and weekends too. Many men I come into contact with in the 50-60 age group have given up. They don't workout. Besides biking I run and swim for fun and fitness - some of these men have forgotten how to run. Every able bodied male should be able to run a mile in 12 minutes, do 10 pull ups and 10 chin ups minimum. Never ever give up!
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Old 07-30-08, 10:11 PM   #22
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I voted for #s1-7, now I think I should have voted for #9 as well (BSLevan put it nicely). As a fitness professional (certified personal trainer/group exercise instructor/coach) I encourage mental as well as physical fitness. You can have one without the other, however, attaining a balance among your physical, mental, fiscal, and emotional fitness is ideal -- and darned difficult to achieve -- it's a juggling act.
Red Rider has convinced me: 1 thru 7 with 9, for the same reason as BSLeVan, a very wise man.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:05 PM   #23
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I ride to enhance my martial fitness, to maintain muscle tone for throwing a kick, for the fun and enjoyment of riding trails and distances, and because I can.
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Old 07-31-08, 04:58 AM   #24
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I included 9 to include setting an example for the many peers who think old age means quitting.

'Now Act your age', was and still does get a strong reaction from me.
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Old 07-31-08, 05:39 AM   #25
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I checked 1-7. Number 8 almost works because I ride for fun more than any other reason, but I do care about fitness.
All the listed elements are important to me, but I don't think about them or measure them or tailor my rides to produce specific results. I'm just glad that what I do for fun helps make me healthier.
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