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Doctor's Advice on 'Training' and Getting Old

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Doctor's Advice on 'Training' and Getting Old

Old 05-01-20, 07:32 AM
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DaveLeeNC
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Doctor's Advice on 'Training' and Getting Old

I got brave and actually had my previously cancelled (Covid-19 concerns) annual physical exam today (my DOB is 1949). I am now facing (or more accurately admitting) that my kind of 'performance oriented goals' for riding really need to change. Somehow 'only lost 5% this year' is not a motivational kind of thing. More about that in another post, if I get around to it.

I asked my doctor "what is your advice regarding training in it's various form WRT aging"?.

It is not clear to me that just cycling 100-200 miles per week, even though it is great for my weight and blood pressure, is the best way to spend my time as I get old(er). I might be better off adding a significant amount of strength work (inevitably would result in less cycling)"

His response was interesting. It was "what is critical here is that you keep active with something that you consistently will do. Cycling is working for you and I would not risk a big change to something that you might or might not consistently do. Cycling is s great aging activity and it is working for you".

Kind of an interesting, but not surprising in retrospect, response.

dave
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Old 05-01-20, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
I got brave and actually had my previously cancelled (Covid-19 concerns) annual physical exam today (my DOB is 1949). I am now facing (or more accurately admitting) that my kind of 'performance oriented goals' for riding really need to change. Somehow 'only lost 5% this year' is not a motivational kind of thing. More about that in another post, if I get around to it.

I asked my doctor "what is your advice regarding training in it's various form WRT aging"?.

It is not clear to me that just cycling 100-200 miles per week, even though it is great for my weight and blood pressure, is the best way to spend my time as I get old(er). I might be better off adding a significant amount of strength work (inevitably would result in less cycling)"

His response was interesting. It was "what is critical here is that you keep active with something that you consistently will do. Cycling is working for you and I would not risk a big change to something that you might or might not consistently do. Cycling is s great aging activity and it is working for you".

Kind of an interesting, but not surprising in retrospect, response.

dave

Thats great advice. I donít know if you see it this way but, to me and probably 99% of the world, cycling 100-200 miles a week puts you in a very elite class. Especially for someone over 65.

Weight and blood pressure are great markers of health. And, from what Iíve read, resting heart rate is a major indicator of health.

I started getting serious about my fitness just 3 years ago. I figured Iíll do ďweights and cardioĒ. And it was a key moment for me. I progressed well with the strength training and thatís important. But the cardio, which is perhaps even more important, was lagging. Mostly because...I hate gym cardio (step machines and tread mills).

Then, in August, the lightbulb moment and I got a bike. Itís been fantastic as I discover all the great things about cycling.

I like this forum because, for me, a guy who is just barely getting ďbike fitĒ and able to do 20-mile rides, seeing you and everyone who has attained such a high level of performance is inspiring.

I would just add that since the gyms closed and Iíve had to mostly do strength training with bodyweight exercises, if you want to incorporate some strength training, there is much you can do in a very short time and without any weights.

For example, I wasnít a power lifter. But I was bench pressing about 185 pounds about 8 times. After the gym closed, the only chest exercise that really targeted chest was the good old push up. I read that you should just do them slow, all the way down, and then all the way up. As opposed to just doing them rapidly the way I used to do them for 30+ reps but poor form.

And I found that I could barely do 5 sets of 15-20 reps. Thatís just about in ďstrength rangeĒ. Iíve purchased a weighted vest to provide more resistance. However, you could try just 3-4 sets of good, slow, pushups, 2x a week. Each set to ďfailureĒ and rest 1-2 minutes between . It would take literally 10 minutes and I think youíll agree itís a nice chest/shoulder/tricep workout.

Lots of stuff for strength you can do that just takes 10-20 minutes, no gym/commute time, that wouldnít take anything from cycling.
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Old 05-01-20, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
................It is not clear to me that just cycling 100-200 miles per week, even though it is great for my weight and blood pressure, is the best way to spend my time as I get old(er).............His response was interesting. It was "what is critical here is that you keep active with something that you consistently will do. Cycling is working for you and I would not risk a big change to something that you might or might not consistently do. Cycling is s great aging activity and it is working for you".

Kind of an interesting, but not surprising in retrospect, response.

dave
Originally Posted by CyclingBK View Post
Thats great advice. I donít know if you see it this way but, to me and probably 99% of the world, cycling 100-200 miles a week puts you in a very elite class. Especially for someone over 65.

Weight and blood pressure are great markers of health. And, from what Iíve read, resting heart rate is a major indicator of health................
LOW IMPACT with an exercise you really enjoy (love ????) what more does one need???? IMO, if you have a need to expand your fitness goals then go for what ever floats your boat providing the biking is not reduced.
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Old 05-01-20, 01:32 PM
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I'm 10 years younger than you and started doing some light weightliftinga few days a week in the evenings with 20-30 lb fixed-weight dumbells I bought at a sporting good's stores bankruptcy sale. Not heavy weights by any means, but its definitely done some good to get my upper body in condition; easier to do yardwork, lift stuff, climb ladders, do home repairs, 'hammer' up the hills on a bicycle . . you name it.
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Old 05-01-20, 02:25 PM
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Thinking about it from your doctor's perspective. It's likely you are one of the most fit, if not the most fit patient he has in your age group. Imagine that he probably has to nag the vast majority of his patients just to get up out of the chair and take a short walk on occasion.

If he knows you've been riding for many years, it's likely you'll keep doing it and why mess with that?
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Old 05-01-20, 02:47 PM
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It wouldn't be a terrible idea to mix things up. Cycling gives us strong hearts, lungs, and legs. But with the legs, it's only in one direction! I had developed something called piriformis syndrome, basically weakness and inflammation in one of the minor gluteals that attaches to the pelvis. Caused hip and knee pain (via the IT band). Doc prescribed PT for it. But what really seemed work for it was joining a rec soccer league.
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Old 05-01-20, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
His response was interesting. It was "what is critical here is that you keep active with something that you consistently will do. Cycling is working for you and I would not risk a big change to something that you might or might not consistently do. Cycling is s great aging activity and it is working for you".
dave
I don't think it's appropriate to disagree with doctors who have more information and knowledge than me but I"m doing so here. To my way of thinking there is ZERO downside to cutting 25-50 miles a week from your biking regimen and incorporating an upper body workout in place of it. If things don't play out for you, the loss of these miles will have no impact on you. There is a good possibility, however, that you'll find something you enjoy as much as biking.

My suggestion is to try kayaking which is similar to biking but provides an upper body workout. If you're in a climate with cold winters, you can switch to a rower. Find one to rent for an hour.

FYI, I was born in '48. Trust me, do what you can to avoid loss of muscle mass.

Last edited by Tony P.; 05-01-20 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 05-01-20, 03:23 PM
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I'm 82 and do some strength training. It's my belief, like your doctor that the best exercises, at whatever age, are the one that provide satisfaction and are the ones we will maintain. There is an inevitable slow down but surely this is not a surprise. My motto is to do as much as I can as long as I can.
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Old 05-01-20, 03:26 PM
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What are you training for?



my personal answer to above = failed twice to upload to BF.
I'll return later to try again.
Time to ride in the afternoon sun first

edit: after all it is May Day
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Old 05-01-20, 07:27 PM
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I started at the gym early in 2019 to augment my riding since they say strength training is good for you as you age. In that time I was able in increase the amount of weight I was lifting by amounts I wouldn't have thought possible. 3 days a week at the gym and 3 days riding.

This March with the onset of COVID-19 I decided to suspend my gym membership even before the state closed all gyms. This has left me a lot more time for riding. Since the weather is nice here in the spring I've been able to cycle 40 out of the last 41 days. And I realized just how much more I enjoy riding than going to the gym. I really love going out on my daily rides.

I never loved the gym but went religiously because it was good for me but I've been toying with the idea of just sticking with cycling when the state allows the gyms to reopen. Plus, it will save me about $420/yr. which I'm sure I'll just end up spending on bike stuff.
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Old 05-01-20, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
What are you training for?

SNIP
I'll assume that question was aimed at me. I rode the Six Gap Century last year and survived it, but felt more like it conquered me than the other way around. I had hoped to do that 'better' this year. But I don't see how an event like this


is going to happen in 5 months.

As several have pointed out what I am now doing 'is working'. OTOH, I would benefit (on a daily basis just in doing life tasks) from some general strength work. Just have to make a decision.

Ogsarg's 'view from the doctor's perspective' was interesting. My doctor has been seeing me for 20 years now. When we started I was still working and my conditioning was kind of 'typical guy in the street' level. Then when I retired I did just enough running to keep an Irish Water Spaniel (with no ready water access) content (back when my knees were younger I was running 2500 miles/year). Then all activity resembling exercise stopped for 6-7 years and I ended up weighing 50'ish pounds more than I do now. Got back on the bike in 2014 and been riding at my current level (not instantly, of course) since then. The only other biking that I had ever done was a couple years in the mid 90's out in the Bay Area of California (OK, calling Livermore 'the Bay Area' is a stretch).

So my doctor has seen me in all 3 of those different 'conditions'. And that probably does influence his answer to my question.

dave
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Old 05-01-20, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by August West View Post
I started at the gym early in 2019 to augment my riding since they say strength training is good for you as you age. In that time I was able in increase the amount of weight I was lifting by amounts I wouldn't have thought possible. 3 days a week at the gym and 3 days riding.

This March with the onset of COVID-19 I decided to suspend my gym membership even before the state closed all gyms. This has left me a lot more time for riding. Since the weather is nice here in the spring I've been able to cycle 40 out of the last 41 days. And I realized just how much more I enjoy riding than going to the gym. I really love going out on my daily rides.

I never loved the gym but went religiously because it was good for me but I've been toying with the idea of just sticking with cycling when the state allows the gyms to reopen. Plus, it will save me about $420/yr. which I'm sure I'll just end up spending on bike stuff.
The gyms closing has opened my eyes to how much strength training you can do with bodyweight. I was like you, lifting about 3 days and cycling about 3.

I didnít want to give up strength training so I found that these moves work every big muscle group and since I got a weighted vest (lol) I can add resistance and keep the rep range under 15...

Slow pushups to the floor and all the way up. 4 sets of 12. Pushups with my feet on the bed, 3 sets of 10.

Pullups, what an amazing exercise. 4 sets of 8-10.

Bulgarian split squats, 3 sets of 10-15. Single leg deadlifts (itís just body weight but hits the hamstrings and glutes hard), 3 sets of 10-15.

I do one group a day, so I hit each group 2x a week, and it only takes 15-20 minutes and I feel like I have maintained or even gained muscle mass.

Then, try to cycle every other day.

But, This is just what I like. Each person finds their passion and thereís no arguing with success. The enormous cardiovascular gains from cycling at the level of the OP are enviable and thereís certainly no need to do anything that might take away from the current routine.
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Old 05-01-20, 08:25 PM
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I'll give my personal perspective a try again. But making it quick.

I'm not about training for an event. Never was really. Too safety conscious to participate in big or medium events. Just not my cuppa.

I train (for lack of a better term)
to wake up feeling good everyday,
to keep my weight and other things in balance.
to not have Rx meds.
to maintain balance and leg strength
to sleep better at night.

35+ years as a continuous adult cyclist, less when the kids were babies, should have helped the longevity side of what genetics may dictate.

I practice = listen to your body and deep breathing meditation. and cross-train with hiking, gardening an acre and home projects. Should use the free weights for upper body.

Volunteer ski patroller and summer wilderness ranger are past joys.

Max heart rate = who cares.

So my opinion on 'training' is different than most

edit: DOB = 1951

Last edited by Wildwood; 05-02-20 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 05-01-20, 10:12 PM
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I like goals - they make me train. Otherwise I might just say, "Well I don't feel like it today. What difference does it make?" I train so I can ride. Many years ago, I made up a little epigram, "They take away your license to fly if you don't keep making the installment payments."

I look at the aging thing a little differently (YOB 1945): If I don't lose all the much each year, it's a victory. I'll never average 16 on a mountain 400 again and that's that. But so what? I'm still fit enough to attack the climbs and have fun, even if the youngers are going by me zip, zip, zip. Doing all you can do is all you can do. As long as that's really all you can do, of course. It's satisfaction with one's station in life, What is is what is, reality bites and all that type of thing.

Thus the real question, indeed the only question, is what can you do? I recover for crap now, so this spring and summer for the first time, I'm not strength training. Well, and of course the gyms are closed anyway. I do about 1/2 hour of stretching and floor exercises almost every morning, enough so that I don't run into strength or overuse injuries on the bike. No showstoppers, thank you very much. I'll start strength work again late this summer and probably until January if gyms are open again. If not, I might buy some dumbells. Heavy dumbbell deadlifts are plenty strenuous and of course lighter for upper body work. A 2 X 12 between sawhorses would work for a bench. But IME this year I could either do strength work or intervals, but not both. I used to do intervals and strength work after and still recover, but not anymore, and that was maybe only 5 years ago. I do a event ride in the mountains every year. The last couple of years I've come in first in my age group and I'm a total duffer as far as talent goes, so it's working. FTP is like 165 but I guess everyone else is worse or maybe I'm just in better condition, probably the latter. As the song goes, "Compared to what?"

I'm trying that calcium thing I posted about to slow bone loss. Worth a try. Better than the effing medication my doc prescribed that's now been found to make bones brittle.
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Old 05-02-20, 02:46 AM
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Surfing has always been my main sport so that keeps the upper body well exercised but I also have a weights set-up in garage. In my younger days (now 61) I did a lot of weights, nowadays maybe one or two sessions a week depending upon other activities - if I'm surfing every day I certainly don't bother with the weights. I'm one of the strange ones that actually enjoys hitting the weights, probably why I've been able to keep going at them over the decades.However, all evidence and advice points to how key it is to do strength exercises as you get older so now although I do enjoy it I also have in mind that it's necessary. Being somewhat, alright a lot vain, I also like the fact that weights keep me in shape as well. Win-win in my book.
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Old 05-02-20, 04:29 AM
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Interesting and impressive to read all the workarounds due to closed gyms. I’m in the same boat - doing weight work at home with a couple of rusty dumbbells, a bench made with milk crates and a board and some tension straps. Like carbonfiberboy, I like goals. I keep a log of the daily training or exercise I do. I never look back at it but just doing it keeps me honest. Loads of science stresses the importance of weight training as we age. For me, once I established a routine of doing it, it feels unnatural when I skip it and things feel “off”. I’m not sure what the thread starter means by”a significant amount” of strength work, but I can’t see that it would take so much time that it would hamper your riding.
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Old 05-02-20, 06:04 AM
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There's a book...."Younger Next Year" that might offer some insights as well.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/you...ley/1113898745
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Old 05-02-20, 09:51 AM
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I’m fixing to get back into weight training but a different approach. I loved dead lifting until my intestines started falling out Got some mesh put in for a triple hernia. I think the other two were there for a long time before the big one. That was in 2015. The cycling keeps the lower body strong and
lean and the heart efficient. I figure some a good dumbbell routine is in order.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:07 AM
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I'm a few years older than the OP (1946) and put in a lot of annual miles (between 9,000 and 11,000) a year. Up until 2006 (at 60), I only had a GP which I saw once a year for a physical. That year, I was diagnosed with a chronic type of leukemia which now has me seeing an array of doctors for other parts of my body. Never had or even seen a cardiologist until last year and he's only treating me for my blood pressure. Every doc that I have has told me the same thing and that is not to stop riding. I too, have thought about other types of exercise in conjunction with cycling but their answers were almost the same.Their concern was more with the cardiovascular aspect that with anything else. Since we're all different and have different medical and physical issues, I can only speak for myself as to where I'm directing my fitness efforts. However, I think that at the OP's age, if my doctor told me that riding was working for me, I would definitely take my doctor's advise and stick with what works.
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Old 05-02-20, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I'm a few years older than the OP (1946) and put in a lot of annual miles (between 9,000 and 11,000) a year. Up until 2006 (at 60), I only had a GP which I saw once a year for a physical. That year, I was diagnosed with a chronic type of leukemia which now has me seeing an array of doctors for other parts of my body. Never had or even seen a cardiologist until last year and he's only treating me for my blood pressure. Every doc that I have has told me the same thing and that is not to stop riding. I too, have thought about other types of exercise in conjunction with cycling but their answers were almost the same.Their concern was more with the cardiovascular aspect that with anything else. Since we're all different and have different medical and physical issues, I can only speak for myself as to where I'm directing my fitness efforts. However, I think that at the OP's age, if my doctor told me that riding was working for me, I would definitely take my doctor's advise and stick with what works.
Along similar lines to the above (I am the OP in this thread, BTW) I also regularly see an orthopedic surgeon. I have osteoarthritis in both knees and need periodic hyaluronic acid injections to keep me going. Even considering that cycling is not an impact thing, you would not think that LOTS of riding would be good for such a condition. He is adamant that it is good for my knees. And that more is better (I assume that there is a point, but it apparently is not one that I have hit yet).

What is interesting here is that if you look at X-Rays of my knees, my left knee (which has been something of an issue all my life) looks like something that is a horrible mistake. Adjacent bones don't fit together properly, nothing is parallel, etc. My right knee does not look like a huge construction error. I get injections in both knees and my doc tells me that he has seen X-Rays like my left knee on folks who could not walk across a room.

I also wear a very expensive, custom knee brace and I could not do long rides without it. And (surprise, surprise) it is the 'good knee' (per the X-Ray) that needs the additional support of the brace. Don't need one on the 'construction disaster'. I still remember my first visit with the doc (2016) which he asked me twice to verify that it is the right knee that hurts.

I am guessing that this knee has been a mess since childhood and my body has found ways to compensate for that. The right knee degradation would be more recent. So I have a 'good bad knee' and a 'bad good knee'.

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Old 05-03-20, 06:09 AM
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My morning stop before work was the Planet Fitness but those days are gone for a while. I started noticing I was losing some muscle mass rather quickly (at least the visual anyway) so I have put together
enough gear for an effective work out in my shop using a pull up bar, a set of hand weights and, most importantly for me, a great set of resistance bands.

The resistance bands can be configured in endless ways to hit the group you want and can take the place of a cable machine in many ways.

Good quality bands can be had used on ebay. I found some really nice pro quality sets for under 50 bucks and when they arrived I was not surprised to find most of the bands and handles
had never been unwrapped.

Strength training makes me feel younger, an illusion of course, but I'll take it !
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Old 05-03-20, 10:17 AM
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What was interesting to me was about 6 years ago I was 75. My doctor had a PA working with him, and he was going over my 6 mo check up. When I mentioned I cycled up to 35 miles ever other day and lifted hand weights, he was highly concerned. He suggested that a man of that age should not be doing that much exercise. I of course ignored him and still ride anywhere from 20 to 35 miles ever other day. At my last check up my bp came out 124 over 70. BTW that PA no longer works for my doctor.

And--------------I still say if you set you rust!!!!
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Old 05-04-20, 10:29 AM
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Wildwood
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in regards to @rydabent's doctor's comment about old folks getting TOO much exercise = i have had 2 docs (one of whom I follow) tell me to avoid pushing max HR too often or for too long. Unfortunately, the final 2k getting home has 500' of climbing including 3 rather steep ramps that push me to max. Personally, I'm more worried about knees than heart.

I think most doctors would prefer their (generally) healthy senior patients stay active with 'light' exercise for every muscle group.
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Old 05-04-20, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
in regards to @rydabent's doctor's comment about old folks getting TOO much exercise = i have had 2 docs (one of whom I follow) tell me to avoid pushing max HR too often or for too long. Unfortunately, the final 2k getting home has 500' of climbing including 3 rather steep ramps that push me to max. Personally, I'm more worried about knees than heart.

I think most doctors would prefer their (generally) healthy senior patients stay active with 'light' exercise for every muscle group.
Well, of course you're not hitting max HR 3 times on the way home, though you're probably going over LTHR. I participate in a 154 mile, 10,000' event ride, which unfortunately won't happen this year. The rider bib numbers are given out by age. #1 is usually 80+ y.o. There seems to be a natural limit there at ~80 for extreme event training, probably a recovery limitation which won't allow adequate conditioning. So far so good for me. Last year I finished about 1/3 the way down among the finishers. Not dead yet.

A doctor I had some years ago opined that researchers would be studying our generation for decades to come. We have overturned many assumptions about the aging process, what can be expected, and what it is advisable to do. It's a new ball game. We're setting new standards. That said, it's not clear that we'll live any longer than those who came before us, but we'll be much more active and healthier in our old age. The doctors of today simply don't have any data to be able to give a scientific opinion on how best to live the rest of our lives. At this point, we know more than the doctors do. Our data does not appear in any study of gerontology - we're not dead yet! Give them another 30 years to figure it out. Meanwhile let's have fun!
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Old 05-04-20, 12:39 PM
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Born in 1964.

I get what the dr is saying.

For me, my dr is always cautioning me against doing too much - to combat osteoporosis, he says I don't have to life as heavy as I do, as lifting heavy can promote injury, and then I'll be sidelined for a lone time (I have a history of showing off and hurting myself).
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