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Reduced stability with aging

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Reduced stability with aging

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Old 05-10-18, 06:06 AM
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donheff
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Reduced stability with aging

Do others notice a reduction in cornering stability with age? And if so, how bad does it get? I hit 70 this summer and over the last year or so I have noticed a decrease in stability when taking tight corners. The solution is simple, I have slowed down. But it does take a fair amount of attention and I have found myself swing out into the oncoming lane a couple of times on MUPS. I never came close to hitting someone heading the other direction but I have dialed it back even more and pay very close attention. On the flip side, extremely slow, very sharp turns are also a problem but IIRC that seemed true in younger years. I see a fair number of people older than me on the road so I hope this isn't a progressive issue. Any experiences out there?
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Old 05-10-18, 09:18 AM
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I am the same age as you and have developed a slight issue with vertigo in recent years. I notice this when walking, especially if I look to the side and then back again quickly.

Strangely this does not affect me at all on the bike, where i cannot recall any balance problems.
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Old 05-10-18, 09:26 AM
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Sense of balance degrades with age, supposedly starting around 25 years. We are told that it's due to changes in muscle strength, joint flexibility, decreased reaction time, and susceptibility to inner ear issues. Not to disregard all of that, but I think that there can be long periods of disuse, where we aren't really using much balance beyond the normal activities and we experience some loss due to that. I cite that balance improves with balance exercises, even simple ones like standing on one foot. If the simple training of balance improves it to a significant degree even at advanced age, I submit that the problem is due at least in part to lack of utilization.

In the case of feeling unstable on the bike while turning, I personally would be more concerned with the perceptive side of balance. Inner ear, vision, etc.
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Old 05-10-18, 09:48 AM
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There are things you can do to help. Practice helps. Take your shoes and socks off while standing. Brush your teeth while standing on one leg, different leg on alternate days. Practice standing one one leg with your eyes closed. Walk on narrow stuff whenever you see a convenient practice item, curbs, walls, RR tracks, etc. The problem is a loss of priopreception. Google priopreception exercises. Ride your bike slowly around a parking lot, making sharp turns at low speed. Try to ride a precise circle several times in the same path. Etc.

But yes, one's balance among many other things does decay with age. Eventually, maybe 90s, it's going to get dangerous to ride. But for now, just like everything else, we can fight back against the effects of aging with training.

At 72 I still descend aggressively but a little slower than I used to. Not that I feel unsafe, but rather I know I might break a little easier so I back it off a hair. One injury can ruin your whole season. At my age, losing a season is very serious business.
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Old 05-10-18, 10:01 AM
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Yes, stability decreases with age. I could go into more detail, but the short story is I am 73 and am noticing balance issues. My doctor did a couple of fast test (walking heel to toe, standing on one leg, etc.), and then sent me for a panel of blood tests. The blood tests did not show anything, so he referred me to a neurologist. He told me that this could be age related, but it was showing up sooner than one would expect. The referral hasn't happened yet, but if nothing else shows up at least I will have a baseline. In my case there was an previous event that " might" be a factor, to complicate things.

That you have noticed it is significant. Don't be mislead by an internet diagnosis, although hearing different possibilities is good. Speak to your doctor at your next physical. If he can't find anything wrong, both of you will have a baseline for the future.

The possible causes are varied, ranging from aging to an inner ear problem to a B12 deficiency, and much inbetween.

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Old 05-10-18, 10:48 AM
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Balance is definitely degrading. To paraphrase the great Dirty Harry, "a man (or woman) has got to know his or her (ever increasing) limitations."
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Old 05-10-18, 11:31 AM
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Compared to 10 years ago, speed is not my friend on anything that is not ‘almost flat’ and/or ‘almost straight’ . Age 67.
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Old 05-10-18, 05:34 PM
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Low 50's here. I haven't noticed anything yet. And my bike goes where I want it.

Perhaps by the time I'm 60, I'll perfect the track stand.

I will say that I'm not quite as fearless as I was in the 20's, and tend to like to hit the brakes a bit on curvy descents.

One thing... My 50 year old headset has definitely seen better days. And, I'm not sure the 50 year old bike still is properly aligned. In fact, I'm pretty sure it isn't.

I took it down a 50 MPH descent and it was downright wicked.

I need to take the 20 year old CF bike down that descent, and see if it is any different.

Anyway, if you're riding an old bike, perhaps it would be different with a new one.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:07 PM
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Almost 57 and I can tell you definitely balance is not what it once was. On the bike no so much directly but I now running I do not have the coordination and turning ability to keep moving as well. If I cross a street running and need to look back I can be a little off. Then just simply making a quick turn like going from a sidewalk to sidewalk.

Another tell tail sign is just try climbing up a simply ladder. I can get on an 8 foot step ladder and as I go up clearly no as steady as when I was 25.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:45 PM
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DANG, after reading all of these replies I am so disgruntled. I just realized that the light headed feeling with a touch of queasiness I experienced this morning wasn't due to sprinting 27.1mph on my 1983 Paramount at mile 157 of my 225 miles completed today but instead it's because 2 months from today I will be 68 and as such I am on a downward spiral to using a wheelchair.
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Old 05-10-18, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
DANG, after reading all of these replies I am so disgruntled. I just realized that the light headed feeling with a touch of queasiness I experienced this morning wasn't due to sprinting 27.1mph on my 1983 Paramount at mile 157 of my 225 miles completed today but instead it's because 2 months from today I will be 68 and as such I am on a downward spiral to using a wheelchair.
Oh, so that's how you do it! You're still young! Do you know the really old tri guy in Florida? He must be maybe 86 now? I met a guy at our gym who'd raced with him in Florida a couple years ago.
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Old 05-10-18, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Oh, so that's how you do it! You're still young! Do you know the really old tri guy in Florida? He must be maybe 86 now? I met a guy at our gym who'd raced with him in Florida a couple years ago.
Never met him but pretty sure he was at my 2015 and 2016 IMFL races.
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Old 05-10-18, 07:37 PM
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One great activity recommended for maintaining/improving balance skills as we move along in life is...............get ready for it.........................riding a bike!
I'm also a proponent of standing up while changing shoes/socks, plus the other things mentioned by carbonfiberboy.
Use it or lose it applies to balance.
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Old 05-10-18, 09:15 PM
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Yup. My balance issues are mostly due to chronic sinus congestion and a neck injury. But it doesn't get better with age.

Grab yer outriggers, kids.
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Old 05-11-18, 06:06 AM
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Sounds like a lot of people have issues. I do all the standing on one foot stuff and generally feel fine on the bike. I occasionally ride no hands just to stretch out. I also go fast downhill on straightaways although I slow on curves to reduce the risk of falls (I broke my hip in a crash and don't want to repeat that experience). It's tight cornering that gets me. So far only enough to warrant attention. I will report back in 10 years.
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Old 05-11-18, 12:25 PM
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stopped too fast, unexpectedly, and fell off to the left , on a high 11.5" BB bike,
so could not put my foot down without first shifting to 1 pedal & stepping off the saddle.

cracked a bone in my wrist, , so I'm off the bike & on foot for a while..
Now wearing a rigid wrist brace, that fortunately I can remove to shower..
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Old 05-11-18, 01:28 PM
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Well from the aging process so far, I'd say the biggest hinderance to my cornering is not less ability to balance properly on the bike, but more respect for what a mistake will do to me. The older I get the less risks I seem willing to take compared to when I was younger and invincible. But I haven't made it to 70 yet, so time will tell.
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Old 05-13-18, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
There are things you can do to help. Practice helps. Take your shoes and socks off while standing. Brush your teeth while standing on one leg, different leg on alternate days. Practice standing one one leg with your eyes closed. Walk on narrow stuff whenever you see a convenient practice item, curbs, walls, RR tracks, etc. The problem is a loss of priopreception. Google priopreception exercises. Ride your bike slowly around a parking lot, making sharp turns at low speed. Try to ride a precise circle several times in the same path. Etc.

But yes, one's balance among many other things does decay with age. Eventually, maybe 90s, it's going to get dangerous to ride. But for now, just like everything else, we can fight back against the effects of aging with training.

At 72 I still descend aggressively but a little slower than I used to. Not that I feel unsafe, but rather I know I might break a little easier so I back it off a hair. One injury can ruin your whole season. At my age, losing a season is very serious business.

This is great stuff. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 05-13-18, 08:03 PM
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Getting old is not for the faint of heart.
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Old 05-14-18, 01:13 AM
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I am 72 and I have not noticed this problem. I have ridden motorcycles since 1975 & bicycles since around 1986 and, thus, know how to apex a corner using a "racer's line." This (as most of you know) makes corners flatter and straighter. I'd concentrate on that technique. If that isn't the problem then I agree that slowing down is a reasonable approach.
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Old 05-14-18, 05:41 AM
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Some medications can cause balance/vertigo issues. If you are taking any long-term meds you might discuss this with your doctor and see if there might be an alternative.
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