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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.

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Old 09-08-09, 10:58 PM   #1
Velo Dog
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Personal experience with "when we get old"

The thread about not getting old until we stop exercising triggered a thought that might be motivational for some people who have trouble getting on the bike...
I'm 64, and have been active all my adult life. Started running when I got home from Vietnam at 24, and except for the occasional burnout month off, ran 40-60 miles most weeks until I was in my mid-40s, when knee and ankle problems made it hard to continue. I switched to cycling (which I'd done casually for years) and rode year round (a lot more in summer than winter, but still year-round) until two years ago.
With modest mileage (modest on average--some weeks I did 250 miles, some weeks only 25) I kept my weight, blood pressure, glucose and all that other stuff where it should be.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. MG can be serious, but I haven't shown any symptoms except double vision and ptosis (drooping eyelids, now under control). I never did lose strength, but the vision problems made it hard to ride safely, so for most of the last couple of years I've avoided it (usual story--"I'll make up for it walking," but walking is boring and I usually didn't). By May of this year, I'd gained 30 pounds, 30 points on my BP and cholesterol and 20 on my glucose. I'd gone from a fairly healthy middle-aged guy to an old man in just over a year.
With some med adjustment and encouragement from my doc, I've been back on the bike since May. I still have occasional double vision, but my brain has learned to compensate for it, so I can drive fine and ride pretty comfortably. I'm doing about half the miles I used to, but my weight's down 20 pounds, BP down from 160/110 to 116/65, total cholesterol 132 and glucose in the 80s. NOTHING has changed except the exercise--I'm still eating a little too much junk, but now I can get away with it. And I feel so much better every day it's hard to believe.
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Old 09-08-09, 11:43 PM   #2
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Why doesn't everyone start riding a bike? There are so many stories, like yours, that should be inspirational to folks who need it. Maybe it's something in carbon fiber dust, or the special pressure a bike helmet puts on one's brain. Cycling just seems to be magic. Thanks for your post.
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Old 09-09-09, 12:23 AM   #3
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Old 09-09-09, 04:43 AM   #4
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Obviously, I agree or I wouldn't be here, the benefits of riding become more and more apparent and dramatic as time goes on. I have two cousins, one older and one younger, that I grew up with. When we were teens everybody thought we were at least brothers if not triplets. At a recent family gathering I saw them for the first time in years. We are in our late 50's and they have become skinny legged, grey haired pot-bellied old men while I am constantly confused for early 40's. Sad, but true. The only difference in our careers or family lives was that I have, since college, always used my bike when I didn't specifically need my car.
Activity is simply preventive therapy.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:02 AM   #5
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This is one I will try to remember if I get set back by a medical problem.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:16 AM   #6
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Thanks Velo Dog. That is quite a testament to the powers of exercise, a positive mental attitude and will power. Good health!
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Old 09-09-09, 08:14 AM   #7
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Very good. You are an exception to the rule.
Now if we could just get most Americans to follow your example. Our Medicaid system might have a chance.
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Old 09-09-09, 11:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
Very good. You are an exception to the rule.
Now if we could just get most Americans to follow your example. Our Medicaid system might have a chance.
Will you are absolutely right .

And the thing is, almost everyone could do it. Almost everyone knows how to ride a bike, and almost everyone already ownes one.

Pump up the tires, lube the chain maybe; then get on your bikes and ride!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 09-09-09, 12:24 PM   #9
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I was a couch potato until 26 (mostly medical reasons) when I developed high blood pressure. I've been doing strenuous aerobics since then (44 years) and weight training for the last 30. The only negative I've had due to the ageing process is at a 67-68 I noticed it took significantly longer to recover than before.

All the parameters are excellent. I've started jogging again to complement the cycling and the weight training. I prefer mountain biking as it's more fun to me and certainly a much better work-out than road. I also love being in the woods and don't care that much for being on the road, especially on a hot day.

Al
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Old 09-09-09, 01:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for the update Velodog...very inspiring. Total cholesterol 132! No fair!!
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Old 09-09-09, 06:29 PM   #11
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Gettin' old?
Ages 76/74. We still ride TWOgether on our tandem 100 +/- miles a week.
Oh, we are both cancer survivors.
Can hardly wait til we get 'older'!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-09-09, 06:51 PM   #12
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We all have a personal responsibility for our own health maintenance. Exercise is one of the key ingredients in this equation. As we age and our knees, hips and ankles get less cooperative, cycling is an excellent method of maximizing our health through exercise.
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Old 09-10-09, 10:45 AM   #13
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Thanks for the story

Good story for inspiration....thanks for sharing...me...I just started last week...only at 5-6 miles a shot, but after a minor heart attack a few years back and 20 plus years of smoking...i think i will make it....like everyone says...pedal on...

Thanks for sharing
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Old 09-10-09, 05:00 PM   #14
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Age is just a number - I ride to honor the ones I knew who will remain young in my mind forever

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Old 09-10-09, 07:23 PM   #15
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I think we have to sometimes ignore what people say inadvertantly to us not realizing it could affect us if we allow it.For instance i remember sometime in my early fifties cops,bank tellers etc. when i had something to do with them started calling me sir.Now im in my sixties and just the other day i had to renew my truck driving liscense(has to be done yearly including medical here)you get paper temporary till new plastic" identity theft proof" one comes by mail.Got it today and was reading my discription which used to read blue eyes ,brown hair, now some one took it upon them selves to change it to grey hair.Ive never really given my hair color much thought till i read that.Just small stuff like that, one has to ignore.A person doesnt want to dwell on it or one will start believing one is old.I dont feel old,thats what counts.
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Old 09-11-09, 09:58 AM   #16
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Over the summer a friend's barn was blown down by a tornado. He announced a particular weekend in which people were welcome to come over and help clean up the mess. I arrived at 8:05 to find 30 people already at work. By 10 there were about 60. Chainsaws were buzzing, two large wood chippers were screaming, two fires were going, and a couple of bobcats were pulling stumps and moving large piles of debris. There were about 30 trees down and those with the chainsaws were slicing them up. Ant-like streams of people took everything cut off and dragged it to the wood chippers, stacked it up, or threw it in one of the fires. Others sifted through the barn salvaging good wood and either burning what wasn't or throwing it in the biggest dumpster I've ever seen. This went on for about 8 hours. After I finished I went an mowed a friend's lawn.

The next day I was fine except for some achy feet (I usually don't wear steel-toed boots ALL day) and my hands and forearms were a little tired. I can imagine most of the people were in total, screaming agony having used all kinds of muscles they normally don't. We (only 10 of us this time) did another 8-hour day at the farm then I went and helped someone move. And Monday I felt great.

Yeah, riding the bike works pretty darned good.
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