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Old 05-24-09, 06:10 AM   #1
thatsut
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does riding keep you healthy

hello im not 50 plus yet. on even haf of that to be truthful

but thought you wouldnt mind me coming to ask for some advice.

i wanted to know over your lifetime if riding you bike on a daily basis has contibuted positively or negativly towards your health and could you give exmples.

E.g Does riding you bike keep your knees in good working order or has it worn them out.

just curious
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Old 05-24-09, 06:18 AM   #2
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It will take the weight off, good for mental stability, physical fitness, etc.
You must rotate correctly in a cylindrical vertical plane to keep knees in shape.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-24-09, 07:02 AM   #3
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On the general topic - no question, yes. Blood pressure, cardio fitness, cholesterol, etc. all good.
Knees - ah - can be a sore subject...
There are many threads on knee pain in almost every group within BF. For some people the answer is in saddle height or adjudment, others it's in cadence, some say stretching and some say strength and conditioning. For me the answer is in the latter - taking care in the spring to protect my knees until my muscle strength has returned. The knee is one of those few items where the master architect didn't spend enough time in the design phase - it's good but it isn't great.
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Old 05-24-09, 07:03 AM   #4
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I'm not particularly a physical fitness buff. Pretty much the only thing that I do for fitness is bicycle. I'm also an experiment of one so that's not a very good sample size.

I drive a school bus. Lots of the bus drivers would qualify for 50+ if they bicycled. I can tell you that I have a lot fewer health problems than the majority of my bus driving peers. Knee replacements, heart issues and the dreaded "C" word are quite common.

I have a son in his mid-30's. He frequently tells my wife and me how much better shape we are in than his buddies parents.

My conclusion is that bicycling has been good for my wife and me. YMMV.
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Old 05-24-09, 07:40 AM   #5
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Yes, it improves fitness.

When I ride at higher cadences my knees feel better. After 4 years of riding I'm in much better condition than I was 4 years ago.
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Old 05-24-09, 07:53 AM   #6
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It's good for fitness.....why.....because it's fun and it's something you will do just because you like to.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:03 AM   #7
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Does riding you bike keep your knees in good working order or has it worn them out.
I had knee surgery a little over a year ago -- injury caused by an accident at work.
The sports medicine doc who did the surgery prescribed cycling as my only physical therapy. Cycling helps the knees. He said my knees would keep going until I was 100.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:06 AM   #8
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Being a standard-issue, flabby middle aged sedentary lawyer at age 47, I came down with a bad case of colon cancer, a disease with a median age of 75. Now at 53, probably (but not definitely) having beaten the 30% odds I had, I am healthier than I have been since law school. So I think the answer to your question is a strong "Yes."
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Old 05-24-09, 08:09 AM   #9
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I'm currently 52. I took up cycling in March 2006. I hadn't been to the doctor in least five years (maybe more) when recently I was hit by a car. I went to the doc for that.

Comparing my chart, then to now:

Weight: Gained 8 pounds, I say it's muscle mass.
BP: 140/85 then, 110/60 now.
Heart Rate: 72 then, 44 now.

Didn't have any blood work this time, but it was all okay the last we checked.

The staff were amazed, and asked how I did it. I told them that I took my doc's advice. I quit smoking, I exercise and I eat right.

As for knees, it depends on the nature of one's knee problems, whether or not cycling improves them. I'm a lucky one. I had knee instability problems for years and years. This was accompanied by pain on the sides of the joints, and I walked with a limp. That all went away within a half-year, or about 2,000 miles back then. I haven't had even a twinge since then.

Edit: Now I'm on a roll...

I had a joint condition called fibromyalgia. I'd been on meds for that since the middle 80s. It has disappeared completely.

I have two different sleep disorders (and no, neither one is apnea). I'd been on meds for them for years too. I still don't sleep well, but I sleep well enough that I'm no longer on meds for it.

Back in 2005, during the SARS scare, I had to go to Toronto (one of the big SARS cities) for a convention. I was terrified that I'd catch it there and that if I caught it, it would be fatal, since I'd smoked for 35 years. Last year, my bike and I took Amtrak to Colorado, where we rode to the top of Mt. Evans (14,130 ft) and later in the week, rode a century that passed by Rocky Mountain National Park. My lung function has improved markedly.

Right now with the Swine Flu thing going around, I'm unconcerned. I work at the Circulation Desk of the Public Library, where all day at work I'm exposed to everything everyone has, including whatever the homeless guys have (and they sound nasty). I caught one cold this year. Nothing last year. Meanwhile, my co-workers, well at least one of them is sick at any given time, despite using gallons of hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays. BTW, I ride straight through the winter.

To summarize, I used to "feel my age". Now, I feel fantastic--alive and vital--every day.

There may not be anything to this exercise thing, but I enjoy it and plan to keep it up.

Last edited by tsl; 05-24-09 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:23 AM   #10
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In the US, the number one killer is heart disease. Exercise is the cure. In fact, regular exercise is the treatment for most of the undesirable symptoms of aging. My resting heart rate is in the low 40s; what's yours? Cycling isn't the only exercise there is; but I've found it's easier on my body than running, it's more convenient than swimming, and nothing else is intense enough for me. Besides, when I'm on my bike, part of me can still be a kid.

BTW, I am 53.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:31 AM   #11
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i wanted to know over your lifetime if riding you bike on a daily basis has contibuted positively or negativly towards your health and could you give exmples.
How could riding on a daily basis be anything but a positive toward your overall health? Any activity that gets you outside and moving is a plus, we just happen to choose bicycles, but even walking is better than doing nothing and it makes us better looking as well.

Along with a responsible diet, exercise is a must for anyone that wants a better chance at a long healthy life.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:50 AM   #12
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Yes.
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Old 05-24-09, 09:40 AM   #13
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I'll certainly join in the Yes group

But you wouldn't really expect many Nos from asking the question on a bicycling forum

On a Car Driving forum, you'd get more 'exposure to risk' answers, and that point of view can't be discounted, so maybe the question needs to include 'is riding SAFELY good for your health?'

But riding a bike, breathing fresh air and enjoying physical activity has got to put us at least in the upper quartile of fitness in a sedentary society even for a couple of hours a week

I'll be interested to see the views which follow this very interesting thought-starter
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Old 05-24-09, 09:46 AM   #14
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There will always be a small downside risk to any activity. I try to weigh the upside benefits against those risks. Also, I need to enjoy what I'm doing, or i won't stick with it.

Cycling has significant risks, but these are easy to manage.

Road safety: The most serious risk IMO is a bad fall or collision with a car. The rider can reduce these risks but never totally eliminate them. I read the "Art of Cycling" and find the safety advice in the book to be excellent. I've had 3 minor falls, and each time I modified my behavior to further reduce my risks. I now pick the roads I travel on very carefully, avoiding those with heavy traffic, higher speeds and frequent crossroads. I'm also careful around pedestrians.

Joint pain or injury: I'm not an expert, but bike fit, conditioning and technique can reduce joint pain for many people. It has not been a problem for me.

On the benefits side of the equation, the upside is tremendous. Most fatal and debilitating illnesses in the U.S. can be reduced or eliminated by the kind of exercise that cycling provides. The other posters have already listed many of the types of conditions that cycling has reduced or eliminated. Lifespan and quality of life can be dramatically improved.

I also think that cycling provides a level of happiness that would be difficult to attain without the pleasure of doing an activity that is so enjoyable.

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Old 05-24-09, 10:16 AM   #15
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Sorry to re-post so soon, but your thread got me thinking

There's the old coincidence/causality debate

By which I mean, people who are interested in staying fit are more likely to explore cycling as an activity
And people who cycle regularly are more likely to stay interested in keeping fit.

Chicken/egg, cause/effect

The old e-mail joke -

' I used to think that coincidence implied a cause. Then I took a night class in logic, and now I don't think that any more'

'Sounds like your class was influential in your thinking'

'Why d'ya say that?'

Me - 40 years type 1 diabetic. Keen cyclist. (Medics are surprised but) no signs so far of adverse effects. Long may it last, and I'll keep chasing the coincidence
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Old 05-24-09, 10:40 AM   #16
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riding into old age... and then back out?

You guys are so kind!!!

So friendly and full of good advice. Thankyou !

Thatís it im NEVER Learning how to drive. Iím 23 and have used cycling as my transport to everywhere from around the age of ten I used to ride my bike four miles round trip to school. I live in the uk. And always try to perpetuate the same habitat. Now I still ride my bike to work its a 14 miles round trip, Ive moved out in the countryside in wales, and it seems quiet isolated, thus most people from the age of sixteen drive cars. I was just checking that I could just keep going riding my bike till Im double or triple maybe quadruple my age but itíll probably be ďhover bikesĒ by then.

Cycling is something which I really love! Its GOOD to know I can carry on.

Blazing pedals My resting heart rate is 17Ö only joking its 57 and 5/8. wow yours is 40! Im impressed how dd it become so low? what are you life long health tips?

So you guys have pretty much proven yes it is better for you in the long run as long as you ride safely.

Thinline that was a really good tip!

Could you please share some more wisdom on maintaining general health eg correct technique etc from you experience?

MANY thanks

nathan
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Old 05-24-09, 04:33 PM   #17
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It is not a magic bullet cure-all but it is a big step in the right direction. People die biking, people die sitting on the couch. But nearly every medical study I'm aware of that took exercise into account has come to the conclusion the even a little bit of physical activity is of great benefit to your over all health. Just keep peddling. I'm an almost 66 yr old mountain biker who's had 5 heart attacks BB(before biking) and intestinal cancer also BB and I feel better now than I have in many years. But, there's no 'lead-pipe' guarantees, just measures taken to improve the odds.
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Old 05-24-09, 04:45 PM   #18
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I have discovered the fountain of youth, and it is a combination of aerobic exercise, weight training, mental exercise, a nutrient-rich high-fiber diet low in sodium and fat, a positive emotional outlook, a supportive social and family structure, and plain old-fashioned clean living. Bicycling is the best way I know to get the ol' ticker ticking without putting too much of a burden on my feet, ankles, and knees. Use the low gears, keep up the RPMs, and eschew the current single speed and fixed gear fads in favor of something practical and knee-friendly.

See also the late George "King" Stahlman's personal motto (in my signature), which I have plagiarized for my own life.
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Old 05-24-09, 05:37 PM   #19
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As I've been cycling to work since I was 23, and and I spent 10+ years cycle camping on what essentially were racing cranksets - my big mistake. Your genes will have something to do with it, but now at 59.5 and recently having been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, my knees are pretty well shot. Everything else about cycling's impact on me is positive - it greatly improved my life in numerous ways.
So my take home message is simply: learn to spin in lowere gears sooner rather than later. Bike fit is of course critical, but so is spinning.
That, and don't be in too much of a hurry on your bike - ever.
Happy trails!
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Old 05-24-09, 06:04 PM   #20
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I'm 52. My answers to your questions are yes. I took up Fixed gear riding at age 41. I was told, "At your age? You can't!" Well, here I am, eleven years later, and I seem to be fine. My PCP seems to agree, on my annual physicals. I rode multi-gears starting in the 70's with my blue Raleigh Record. (Wish I had kept that bike. It would have made a great fixie conversion.)

Cycling is good for the body and the mind. A day of aggravations from dealing with "the logic challenged" can be forgotten with a simple evening ride of fifteen miles. I always feel very relaxed after riding. I sleep very well. I'm not a "dieting type", but I am a "watch what you eat type". Snack foods for me now consist of apples, and unsalted mixed nuts. Got a weakness for ice cream, I just eat less of it than I used to.
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Old 05-24-09, 06:34 PM   #21
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By "low 40s" I mean 42-45 when I first wake up in the morning. I wore a heart rate monitor at work a few weeks ago, and my HR sitting at my desk can drop to 52. To what do I attribute it? Hours of hard work at the other end of the heart rate scale. Spend enough time at 90% of your max, and the ticker gets really strong! As much as I like cycling, I hate doing it in snow and ice, so in the winter I do interval training in a pool. That's good exercise too, but not everyone has access to a pool.
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Old 05-24-09, 07:59 PM   #22
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For me, the worst negative health aspect of bicycling has been due to my allergies to various types of grasses and pollens. The first days of Spring, when it is so tempting to get out and ride are also the peak times of pollen output. Not only am I drawn outdoors to be exposed to the pollen, but I am out there working hard and breathing deep, drawing that stuff deep into my lungs so it can really do a number on my breathing. Beyond that problem, it occasionally causes me to limp around with bruises, scratches and scrapes. Especially when I get too aggressive with my mountain biking.

So much for the negatives. Cycling helps me keep my weight under control. It helps me keep my blood pressure in the good range. I have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol and my diet doesn't always help with that. But for several years now I have been able to avoid taking medication for it by increasing my bicycling frequency and mileage. It has never failed to bring it under control. Cycling keeps my back muscles toned up enough to keep my bad lumbar discs in place and me out of surgery.

But the biggest plus so far has been that even though riding did not keep me from getting cancer last year, it seems to have played a major role in helping me beat it. My doctors are convinced that because of the great physical condition I was in and the stamina and general toughness cycling gave me, I was able to withstand an extremely aggressive chemotherapy regimen with remarkably mild side effects which allowed them to really pour it on and kill the cancer cells. That stamina also helped me endure the intense pain and harsh physical damage done to my neck and throat by 8 weeks of daily radiation treatments. I am convinced that if not for my years of bicycling, I might not be around now.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:12 PM   #23
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My Doctor tells me to keep cycling, we have high blood pressure in my family, and mine is 120/70 with no BP medication. I started riding again about 5 – 6 years ago and I feel great. Every once in a while a young lady will shout out from their car “nice butt”, and my wife concurs with them.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:20 PM   #24
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Age 76.
Weight: 135.
Miles bicycled: 300,000+.
Knees: fine.
Health: very good. Had prostate cancer 5 years ago . . . 3 weeks laters was back on the bike.
Ride 100+ miles a week.

Believe cycling has improved health and outlook on life.
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Old 05-24-09, 08:41 PM   #25
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I don't ride daily, but bicycling has made me intelligent and good looking.

On a serious note, were it not for bicycling, I'd be a fat man. My Body Mass Index would be high and I wouldn't be able to explain it away as a result of the large muscle mass in my legs.
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