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Cycling and your heart above age 55

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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.

Cycling and your heart above age 55

Old 05-11-21, 08:43 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Having seen this thread many times before.....I skipped all the replies.

Reference: 70yo, 35 year road cyclist, No medications,
100mi/wk, 7-8mo/year has been the goal lately, usually achieved.
150mi/wk - when younger - often missed when kids were young.

Question: How to train?
Answer: It depends.

What is your medical history + current condition?
What are you training for?

If training for a competitive goal or timed century or Masters Olympics - then you have need for a structured program that will include intensity. How much? Depends?

If training to substantially lose weight, lower blood pressure, overcome Type2 diabetes, etc - a structured program should greatly help Intensity? Depends?

If training to maintain one's health and feel as good as possible each morning/noon/night - well maybe, Listen to the Body, Move, Smile.
Cardio+Strength =

Lots of branches on that tree of Intensity.

Personally, gardening a 1acre property bordered by forest 180° - by hand - is a combo of stretching, yoga, tai-chi, hand strengthening, and other stuff. Oh yeah, hiking in that forest mostly fills in a lot of the non-cycling months, now that I ski less.





edit: Clear your handlebars and your mind will follow.
i garden as well. One acre. These are a mere snippet of what i planted and maintain.

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Old 05-11-21, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Inusuit View Post
I refuse to worry about things like this. I'm 76 and believe I have a good sense of what's right for my body. A massive (and fatal) heart attack after a hard day of riding is not a bad way to go.
The times I HAVE focused on the numbers and whatnot, were the times my BP was up! At 61 I get a regular physical, but ultimately, I go by how I feel. I don't look at numbers. I don't even know how much I weigh right now. I eat a super healthy (and hearty - I'm a true hard gainer) diet. I rest when my body says so. I push hard when it's enjoyable. And stop when it's not. I can ride harder and longer than I could at 55. So much of it is mental.
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Old 05-11-21, 10:23 PM
  #28  
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Its odd but I gauge the difficulty and extent of my ride/work out on my recovery time. If I'm still out of breath a couple of hours after my work out then I know I did something wrong. My body too. There is a point where simple soreness turns into injury. We want to avoid the injury.

Maybe we should all pay more attention to our recovery times regardless of age.

There was a time when I could run two miles with a fighting load in less than 16 minutes. I might be able to do that now but not in 16 or even 40 minutes. And I certainly would not be able to go out with my boys and drink beers the same evening.
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Old 05-12-21, 09:20 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Its odd but I gauge the difficulty and extent of my ride/work out on my recovery time. If I'm still out of breath a couple of hours after my work out then I know I did something wrong. My body too. There is a point where simple soreness turns into injury. We want to avoid the injury.

Maybe we should all pay more attention to our recovery times regardless of age.

There was a time when I could run two miles with a fighting load in less than 16 minutes. I might be able to do that now but not in 16 or even 40 minutes. And I certainly would not be able to go out with my boys and drink beers the same evening.
if you are still out of breath 5 minutes after your workout concludes, there is something abnormal. You may want to see your physician for a work-up
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Old 05-12-21, 10:46 AM
  #30  
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Medical Arts as opposed to Medical Science.
I've been to enough doctors now to see that if "it" isn't one of about 400 things they see all the time, then they don't know. That's OK, but patients need to recognize it when they see it.
'
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Old 05-12-21, 02:28 PM
  #31  
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Took a "mild" MI at age 60 as a wake-up call, and made the appropriate changes to my lifestyle. Quit smoking, quit drinking alcohol, dramatically reduced my intake of animal products, and began cycling again after a 35 year hiatus. It took a few months, but I got to where the 11 mile climb up Mt. Diablo was a regular part of my 100 miles/week. Fast forward 2 1/2 years later... Resting pulse in the low 50's, only EKG change was a slight let axis deviation, echocardiogram showed a slightly greater than normal stroke volume, normal ventricular compliance, and a wee bit of Mital regurg. My lipid and metabolic panels and CBC were textbook normal. I was in the best shape I'd ever been since adolescence and felt great.

Right up to the moment I had a complete cardiac arrest while waiting for my riding partners to show up. No warning at all, no discomfort, no dizziness, no shortness of breath or any odd sensations at all. Just blackness. Don't even remember keeling over. Turned out I'd suffered a complete occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery. I was told that the survival rate for that particular type of MI is about 3%. If it happens in the field, that drops to < 1%.

I was told that the only thing besides incredible luck that allowed me to survive was being in the superb condition I was at the time of the event. The cardiac surgeon that did my subsequent by-pass grafts said that he spent a good deal of time inspecting my myocardium before taking me off bypass, and he told me he could find no gross signs of necrosis or even injury. His advice at the time was to get a follow-up cardiac echo and stress test in 2 months, and if those were normal, to go right back to what I'd been doing. They were and I did, and now I'm 73 and feeling great. Now time is a cruel mistress, so no, I don't climb worth beans any more and I don't spend as much time in excess of 25 mph as I did 7 years ago.

My point is, you can get checked 6 way for Sunday, but all the medical science in the world won't tell you anything but your odds, where you fit into their statistical models. Thing is, it's all just a mathematical construct that has absolutely no bearing on one individual at one of time. Like the rest of life, it's a craps shoot. Do what you can to stack the odds in your favor and have as good a time as you can in the process.

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Old 05-12-21, 03:32 PM
  #32  
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Never been a smoker, drinker, or any bad habits other than loving a good cheeseburger.

Every physical I've taken since I was 21, the doc has said I have an excellent heart and I always get asked about what activities I do to keep it that strong. So in mid 30's never felt the need for a HR monitor. Best years were 40+ on the bike, same in physicals. Slowed down in riding some in early 50's with all the family illnesses and deaths going on around me. All abusers and non exercisers. But still I received excellent physicals. In my early 50's I would ride with partners who would take the front for a couple of minutes then say they can't take a turn because the doc didn't want them to raise their heartbeat to a certain level. Didn't seem like too much of a level seeing the effort I was putting in to stay on their wheel. So this really turned me off to HR monitors. Too limiting from what I saw.

Now at 58, had a chance to return to increasing my mileage and intensity back up. Feeling like I was at 40 again. Still don't want a HR monitor and still getting good physicals. So forget all the fancy training stuff. I jus t ride my bike.
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Old 05-12-21, 07:43 PM
  #33  
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With my family history, I was sure a major heat attack would have taken me long before now My dad passed at 49, while mom and I tried our best to use CPR, grandmother (paternal) had major, fatal stroke at 58, uncle had an MI at 41, etc. I have been pretty active most of my life, runner, cyclist, worked strenuously, outside, as a construction engineer. Had 10 years with 16 major surgeries due to spinal injury and ruptured appendix/abdominal scar tissue/fistulas. I got an MESA infection and the antibiotics infusion sessions managed to ruin my kidneys, so returned to regular cycling in 2011, and managed to shed 100+ pounds of dead weight and get all my function lab numbers optimal.

My heart started acting up, could tell it was Afib by the patterns and how the extra valve contraction each cycle would feel. Had to use an Apple Watch IV with ECG function to convince my cardiologist that it was a problem. I got ahold of a copy of "Haywire Heart" Zinn, Mandrola, et al, and read it cover to cover three times to get things straight in my brain (developing Parkinson's Disease didn't help any at all.) I highly recommend finding a good cardiologist that is familiar with both endurance exercise athletes and heart rhythm issues, I fired one that refused to listen to what I was feeling, and went down a path I was certain was not pertinent or correct.

I found a cardiologist that specialized in rhythm abnormalities and that was familiar with active, endurance athletes, and a group that had nurse navigators you could email or call 24/7, with problems or questions. Had cryo-ablation surgery, 4 locations in October 2019, no further episodes since. Back cycling regularly and feeling much better, I took the advice, that I found, in "Haywire Heart", and backed things down a notch or three, less high zone workouts and lower mileage now.

Rowan Hope you are home, with Machka by now. sorry for your set back. You are an example of never quitting and being positive about life. Hope that we can see you guys again, soon. Best wishes from Monica and me.

Bill
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Old 05-13-21, 07:16 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by hereandnow View Post
Much more moderate exercise, such as hiking or sports such as pickleball, seems to be the best form of exercise for your heart.
My 82-year-old mother taught me to play pickelball a few months back. Let's just say if your cardiologist defines pickelball as "moderate" exercise he's never seen my Mom play! Holy crap, she wore me out like no fast century ride ever has!
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Old 05-13-21, 08:04 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
With my family history, I was sure a major heat attack would have taken me long before now My dad passed at 49, while mom and I tried our best to use CPR, grandmother (paternal) had major, fatal stroke at 58, uncle had an MI at 41, etc. I have been pretty active most of my life, runner, cyclist, worked strenuously, outside, as a construction engineer. Had 10 years with 16 major surgeries due to spinal injury and ruptured appendix/abdominal scar tissue/fistulas. I got an MESA infection and the antibiotics infusion sessions managed to ruin my kidneys, so returned to regular cycling in 2011, and managed to shed 100+ pounds of dead weight and get all my function lab numbers optimal.

My heart started acting up, could tell it was Afib by the patterns and how the extra valve contraction each cycle would feel. Had to use an Apple Watch IV with ECG function to convince my cardiologist that it was a problem. I got ahold of a copy of "Haywire Heart" Zinn, Mandrola, et al, and read it cover to cover three times to get things straight in my brain (developing Parkinson's Disease didn't help any at all.) I highly recommend finding a good cardiologist that is familiar with both endurance exercise athletes and heart rhythm issues, I fired one that refused to listen to what I was feeling, and went down a path I was certain was not pertinent or correct.

I found a cardiologist that specialized in rhythm abnormalities and that was familiar with active, endurance athletes, and a group that had nurse navigators you could email or call 24/7, with problems or questions. Had cryo-ablation surgery, 4 locations in October 2019, no further episodes since. Back cycling regularly and feeling much better, I took the advice, that I found, in "Haywire Heart", and backed things down a notch or three, less high zone workouts and lower mileage now.

Rowan Hope you are home, with Machka by now. sorry for your set back. You are an example of never quitting and being positive about life. Hope that we can see you guys again, soon. Best wishes from Monica and me.

Bill
Hi Bill ... you are also an example of never quitting and being positive about life.

Rowan came home on Tuesday afternoon after 3 days in hospital. On lots of medications for his heart now.
He is allowed to exercise but must not raise his heart rate above 120 bpm for a while.
He is not to ride his bicycle until next week, then he can start doing that again ... slowly.
So he's been for a short walk each day, making sure to keep his heart rate down.
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Old 05-13-21, 09:18 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by hereandnow View Post
My cardiologist is not in favor of intensive exercise for anyone above age 55
But does "intensive exercise" really shorten your life?

This Copenhagen study of cyclists found the opposite, that cyclists who rode with "fast intensity" live the longest.

Life expectancy for men:
slow intensity -> 0 years
average intensity -> +2.9 years
fast intensity -> +5.3 years

Life expectancy for women:
slow intensity -> 0 years
average intensity -> +2.2 years
fast intensity -> +3.9 years

Our findings indicate that the relative intensity, and not the duration of cycling, is of more importance in relation to all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality. Thus our general recommendations to all adults would be that brisk cycling is preferable to slow.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:56 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
...But does "intensive exercise" really shorten your life? This Copenhagen study of cyclists found the opposite, that cyclists who rode with "fast intensity" live the longest....
Thank you terrymorse! I understand that "nobody knows nothing" with any certainty, but you have provided a wealth of very helpful information throughout this thread. The Copenhagen study cited above provides some especially useful insights.
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Old 05-13-21, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bmcer View Post
Took a "mild" MI at age 60 as a wake-up call, and made the appropriate changes to my lifestyle....My point is, you can get checked 6 way for Sunday, but all the medical science in the world won't tell you anything but your odds, where you fit into their statistical models. Thing is, it's all just a mathematical construct that has absolutely no bearing on one individual at one of time. Like the rest of life, it's a craps shoot. Do what you can to stack the odds in your favor and have as good a time as you can in the process.
Thanks, bmcer. I found your story to be tremendously inspirational on many levels.
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Old 05-13-21, 05:22 PM
  #39  
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hereandnow,

You're sure welcome.
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Old 05-13-21, 05:24 PM
  #40  
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The Cleveland Clinic's Sports Cardiology department didn't have any problems with me ice speedskating at age 78. Short track ice speedskating is all 1 to 3 minute bursts.
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Old 05-13-21, 07:38 PM
  #41  
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I'm getting slight pains just reading this
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Old 05-14-21, 05:22 AM
  #42  
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I'm 65, and if I haven't at least approached my MHR on a ride, it hasn't been hard enough. MHR being the same number it was when I was 50.
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Old 05-14-21, 09:29 PM
  #43  
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I am 65 and just began road cycling three days a week during the past year and absolutely love it. In general, I've read that intensive exercise is not good for your heart once you're age 55 or so and above. Much more moderate exercise, such as hiking or sports such as pickleball, seems to be the best form of exercise for your heart.
Your statement is so silly - it really needs no rebuttal. FWIW - each individual determines their own exercise intensity. Pickle ball or Cycling do not control exercise intensity - the person using the sport to recreate does.

Actually, cycling on a multi-speed bicycle is probably the most "perfect" form of safe-aerobic-exertion, other than a bike trainer.

Sir - your post lacks any merit -and your bias against cycling is unappreciated.
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Old 05-14-21, 09:55 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
... your bias against cycling is unappreciated.
Hey brain, what part of “absolutely love it” don’t you understand?

An internet search shows many pages extolling the benefits of moderate, not strenuous, activity for seniors - so his caution is understandable; even though I break that rule with every ride.

Light or Moderate Exercise Is Best for Seniors

The benefits of exercise are undisputed. What's more, research has shown that moderate exercise can be just as beneficial--even for younger people--as intense exercise. Given that a person can maintain a moderate level of exertion for longer periods of time than intense exertion, arguably the best path is to engage in moderate exercise on a regular basis.

The benefits of moderate exercise continue even after the exercise session has come to an end. Elevated endorphin levels, stronger immune response, and a faster metabolism are all benefits that continue around the clock. What's more, the cardiovascular benefits of moderate exercise rival those of intense bouts of exercise.

Strenuous Exercise Is Best Left to Younger People

Seniors do best to exercise moderately or lightly on a regular basis and avoid overexertion when possible. Studies have shown that there can actually be a higher mortality rate in elderly people who exercise too strenuously.
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Old 05-15-21, 06:13 AM
  #45  
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Beautiful, but would give me a heart attack at the thought of maintaining it!
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Old 05-15-21, 06:38 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Studies have shown that there can actually be a higher mortality rate in elderly people who exercise too strenuously.
Yeah, about those "studies" that conclude “seniors shouldn’t do strenuous exercise, or they’ll explode!!!”.

They're what is kindly called "controversial".

Excerpts from Master Endurance Athletes and Cardiovascular Controversies, Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2020:


improved mortality has been documented in the highest-level endurance athletes

there was no increase in mortality observed with extreme levels of physical activity.

41% lower mortality was observed among elite cyclists compared with the general male population.

Increased cardiorespiratory fitness was independently associated with lower risk of cardiovascular events. For every additional MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task) of fitness, there was an 11% decrease in cardiovascular events.

[Men] with >3000 MET-min·wk
−1 of activity did not demonstrate increased all-cause or cardiovascular mortality compared with those with physical activity of less than 1500 MET-min·wk−1, suggesting that high levels of physical activity did not increase mortality.

Based on the summation of current evidence, there are no data that demonstrate extreme exercise habits increase mortality.

Recent outcomes data demonstrate no increase in mortality in subjects with CAC (Coronary Artery Calcification) engaging in high intensity and volume endurance exercise.

[T]here continues to be no definitive data to support practitioners advice against high-level exercise for healthy individuals who choose to engage in high levels of physical activity.



And if that evidence doesn't ease your mind, how about a personal story: Robert Marchand, the world hour record holder for the age group 105+.


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Old 05-15-21, 09:22 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Yeah, about those "studies" that conclude “seniors shouldn’t do strenuous exercise, or they’ll explode!!!”.

They're what is kindly called "controversial".

Excerpts from Master Endurance Athletes and Cardiovascular Controversies, Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2020:



And if that evidence doesn't ease your mind, how about a personal story: Robert Marchand, the world hour record holder for the age group 105+.

I was not referencing elite athletes just the average Joe, like the guy who’s post I quoted. Elites are superhuman compared to weekend athletes, or a bit better, and have amazing cardio/vascular condition. A newbie going out and pushing themself to extremes might jeopardize their health. I feel, and you will no likely disagree, that you were being unnecessarily and needlessly rough on someone who enjoys cycling and would rather be safe than sorry. Moderation, in my opinion, is never a bad thing especially when one is new to a sport. To do otherwise might potentially jeopardize one’s health. I have said all I intend to and will not respond further or try to get in the last word because it just isn’t that important. Have a good ride and a good life.
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Old 05-15-21, 09:40 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
I feel, and you will no likely disagree, that you were being unnecessarily and needlessly rough on someone who enjoys cycling and would rather be safe than sorry.
I do disagree.

I wasn't being "needlessly rough" on the OP, who asked a sensible question.

I was countering -- with references -- your unsupported claim that it's somehow dangerous to engage in intensive exercise.

As the article I referenced above concludes:

there are no data that demonstrate extreme exercise habits increase mortality
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Old 05-15-21, 12:37 PM
  #49  
skidder
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The old saying: "If the doctor doesn't agree with your opinion, find one who does" applies here. I'm about you age, take one med for an arythmia heart condition, and my cardiologist encourages me to keep up the bicycling and other aerobic activities. The medication works great, but sometimes my heart does act up and I just have to stop to rest a bit. I see him yearly for a follow-up, he's done two treadmill test on me over the years, and his evaluation is 'keep it up but work on loosing 15 lbs" (which I consider appropriate advice).
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Old 05-15-21, 04:13 PM
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OP here.

Thanks, rsbob, you were replying to an individual (not terrymorse) who apparently didn't read what I wrote on a couple of counts and, well, lol, enough said.

Thanks, terrymorse. The specifics in the March 2020 Current Sports Medicine Reports article you linked were exactly what I was looking for, evidence that at least counterbalances some of what my own cardiologist and two others told me along with some of the findings of the (former intensive exerciser) cardiologist Dr. James O'Keefe (referenced in footnote 7 of the article).
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