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Riding IS Really Good for Me! :)

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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.

Riding IS Really Good for Me! :)

Old 07-26-11, 12:06 PM
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duceditor
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Riding IS Really Good for Me! :)

I only got back into bicycling about a month ago. Since then I have gone out every non-working morning for 45 minutes or an hour. The effect on my physical well being is nothing short of astounding.

Not surprisingly my legs and hips are firming up and both look and feel better for it. My back -- a constant problem for almost 20 years, and a worse one since an on-the-job accident last November -- is showing some improvement. But best of all is my blood pressure -- under treatment with two pills a day for over twenty years -- has dropped as much as twenty points, now reading from 89 over 61 shortly after a ride to 113 over 72 later in the day. On meds alone I'd typically see a reading of 124 over 84 (down from a stroke-ready 154 over 115 before I started treatment).

Lung capacity too has improved.

All pretty amazing following only a month a riding.

BTW, I'll turn 65 in late Autumn.

-don

Last edited by duceditor; 07-26-11 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 07-26-11, 12:10 PM
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And hey.. it gets better the more you do it. Congrats and keep at it.
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Old 07-26-11, 12:17 PM
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Old 07-26-11, 01:13 PM
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Good stuff!
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Old 07-26-11, 01:15 PM
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Keep it up. As a young adult (23) that has high blood pressure, I'm hoping that once I get my bike I will be able to reduce my pressure. If you can do it, then I an too.
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Old 07-26-11, 01:55 PM
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Yow!
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Old 07-26-11, 02:05 PM
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Thats Great news! I've been cycling for about 3 months and my blood pressure has been in the pre-hypertension range for about 7 or 8 years. I took my blood pressure reading a few days ago and it was in the normal range. I love this cycling thang!
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Old 07-26-11, 02:34 PM
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Blood pressure for most of us will usually fall immediately after a ride due to the expansion of the blood vessels while riding. That portion of decreased hypertension may not be permanent, but it certainly is not a bad thing.

Of course, the weight loss and other benefits from bicycling may result in more permanent lowering of blood pressure.
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Old 07-26-11, 07:40 PM
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Excellent stuff, Don. It only gets better. I've lost 8 lbs. in the past 4 mos. and I didn't think that was possible with all my bad habits.
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Old 07-26-11, 08:05 PM
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Great job! It really does get better. I have lost over 20 lbs and have been taken off my blood pressure medication. My cholesterol is below 170, good cholesterol is high, bad cholesterol is low and triglycerides are that of a 30 year old and I'll be 65 in October. The only bad thing about riding is that it becomes an addiction and you find yourself wanting more and more saddle time. Waiting all day at work to get home so you can jump on the bike and ride and get withdrawal when you can't. Come to think of it, that's really not a bad thing after all.
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Old 07-26-11, 08:36 PM
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Can't argue with results like those...congrats!
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Old 07-26-11, 08:43 PM
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I'm jealous of you guys. Commuting (18 miles round trip per day) has had had no affect on my BP or cholesterol.
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Old 07-27-11, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by JPMacG View Post
I'm jealous of you guys. Commuting (18 miles round trip per day) has had had no affect on my BP or cholesterol.
How long have you been doing the commute and have you changed your diet? Have you lost any weight?
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Old 07-27-11, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JPMacG View Post
I'm jealous of you guys. Commuting (18 miles round trip per day) has had had no affect on my BP or cholesterol.
The fact is we are all different. Even if we have the same "problem" the cause can be different as can the body's reaction to various inputs and stimuli.

That is one problem with our public opinion approach. And it is especially hard on those who are out of the mainstream and are made to feel guilty for being "obese" or whatever. Average numbers are useful for understanding average people, nothing more. But who the hell is "average?"

My maternal grandfather was a "health nut" back since at least back to the '40s and '50s. He ate most foods uncooked, juiced fresh vegetables daily, exercised regularly and even slept on a yogi slant board. He died at 84 after being frail for several hard years. My paternal grandmother OTOH ate eastern european food such as schmaltz (chicken fat) spread on bread, lots of red meat and salted everything. She lived to be 103 and was as sharp as a tack until the day she died.

(Damned thing is I look like my maternal granddad!)

PS - I ride for the enjoyment of it. The health bennies are to me a somewhat unexpected plus.
Add life to your years not years to your life

Last edited by duceditor; 07-27-11 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 07-27-11, 08:18 AM
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Keep it going....I started at age 65.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by duceditor View Post
That is one problem with our public opinion approach. And it is especially hard on those who are out of the mainstream and are made to feel guilty for being "obese" or whatever. Average numbers are useful for understanding average people, nothing more. But who the hell is "average?"
I'm sorry, but averages/statistics can do more than that. They can reflect probability. IMO, public opinion should be more open, and less politically correct, in condemning fundamental issues affecting our health, such as obesity. Statistics show us that avoiding obesity has, on average, a very positive affect on health. The fact that there are individuals where this does not apply, does not mean that it doesn't apply to the population as a whole. An obese individual has a higher probability of experiencing a variety of health problems than an individual who is not obese. Reducing obesity would have positive affect on the overall/average health of our nation; enough to favorably impact our economy. Just as you can't apply an average (max heart rate is good example) to an individual and expect it to always match, you certainly can't look at an individual, and use that single data point as evidence that averages don't apply to the entire population. That's sort of like applying family microeconomics to the macroeconomics of the nation as a whole. It just doesn't work.

The more skinny cyclists we have, the better off we'll be.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
I'm sorry, but averages/statistics can do more than that. They can reflect probability.
That is certainly correct. But often the public perception and the actual numbers do no match up very well.

I did medical imaging research in the the Harvard Medical Community for many years. When the anti-fat crusade was at its peak (I think the catalyst for me was an article in the Boston Globe encouraging people to boil chopped meat to remove all the fat before using it in recipes) I decided to use the resources available to me to see what actual statistical advantage there would be for me if I chose to follow the then current advice.

What I learned in general terms was this: The then current studies suggested that removing all animal fat from my diet would make a real statistical difference in my life span. The difference was measured in weeks. Was that worth the costs in what to me was a serious quality of life change? I decided, based on the then understood facts, that the answer to me was no.

Now, about 20 or so years later, the Harvard School of Public Health is saying something rather different. (see overview here: https://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec...carbs-20101220 )

The scientific method to me has great appeal. I try to use it in as much of my personal decision making as possible. But what passes for "science" today is often closer to religion. Does that make it bad? Not necessarily. A lot of people say their lives are enriched by religion. But it does make it distinctly unappealing to me.

-don

Last edited by duceditor; 07-27-11 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by duceditor View Post
The scientific method to me has great appeal. I try to use it in as much of my personal decision making as possible. But what passes for "science" today is often closer to religion. Does that make it bad? Not necessarily. A lot of people say their lives are enriched by religion. But it does make it distinctly unappealing to me.

-don
A very good point, and I agree with you. And the whole "eating fat makes you fat" you point to is probably a good example. I have no idea where that came from, but it certainly isn't based in science. Simple carbs and sugar are what is most likely to create body fat, and from what I read, there is increasing evidence that 'free sugar' can essentially lead directly to fat build up in the liver, which can cause a whole host of issues, not the least of which is diabetes. That issue is also a great example of statistics, and how they can be both a valuable tool and misleading. Correlation does not always equate to causation, and our epidemic of obesity and diabetes was thought to be tied to other causes, but research and a re-look at the data indicate that sugar consumption spiked at the same time (sodas and such), and that it is more likely to have a causal relationship than anything else, do to findings like this:

https://www.yalescientific.org/2011/0...-and-diabetes/
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Old 07-27-11, 10:14 AM
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Those ARE big improvements. You must be doing almost everything right. Congratulations.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:24 AM
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Cycling: if the pharmaceutical industry knew what effect it had on the average american they'd attempt to put it in a bottle!

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Old 07-27-11, 10:40 AM
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I'm not sure that I trust the Ivy Leaguers that much, especially when they're telling us what common sense will tell anyone...a 'sugar coated diet leads to diabetes'. I've still got about 15 years just to make it to the average life expectancy, and I want to feel good while I'm doing it. Cycling helps that and is a lot of fun too. Plus a little moderation never hurt anyone when it comes to eating foods that contain animal fat which is basically what our ancestors did for hundreds of years, minus the sugar of course.
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Old 07-27-11, 12:16 PM
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""Most of the very fit elderly people I know do lots of walking but are not at all sporty. I find that cycling is the easiest excercise to slot into everyday life. It takes real will power to haul yourself to a gym twice a week. All it takes to ride to the supermarket is to run out of coffee." Michael W@BFS"

Love that quote Cyclomania!

Beyond its humor there is SO MUCH truth.

I've never been "athletic," either in disposition or natural talent. I've gone through several fairly lengthy 'jags' and exercise/diet binges but they never last for me because they are not who I am.

Walking has been my savior. I park over a mile from my office and only 3 times in the last 4 years have I taken the provided shuttle bus. That walk - rain, snow or shine - has been essential to my physical well being.

More recently, when recovering from an on-the-job accident that required surgery (4 torn tendons), I found myself house-bound and gaining weight. Again walking was my savior -- this time by my assigning myself the "duty" of finding one good camera image a day and posting it on a Facebook album entitled "My Morning Walk"

It was that accident that forced me (as it were) to get back into bicycling. I've been an avid sports motorcyclist for many years but my injury prevented me from riding. "Why not take up bicycling?" asked my son and DIL - both avid bicyclists (and motorcyclists and pilots). And I did! -Digging out my (and my wife's) 40+ year old Raleighs.

And I'm lovin' it! So much so that my current project is a website (Soon to go up, presently in the development stage) entitled "3-SpeedsForever.com"

Thanks to all here for the encouragement and helpful advice! A nicer group of people one couldn't find.

-don
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Old 07-27-11, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclomania View Post
Cycling: if the pharmaceutical industry knew what effect it had on the average american they'd attempt to put it in a bottle!
Nope. They would attempt to buy up all the existing bicycles, and buy up the bicycle manufacturers and close them down.
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Old 07-27-11, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Nope. They would attempt to buy up all the existing bicycles, and buy up the bicycle manufacturers and close them down.
Then bill Medicare for it.
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Old 07-27-11, 03:19 PM
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Many interesting comments Don. I agree with you in that the so called experts do not have all the answers and may not even know the right questions. Even if you are starting your own web site, I hope you will make frequent appearances here.
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