April 10, 2005

Age and athletics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — SL @ 9:15 am

Exercise scientist Joe Friel in his book ‘Cycling Past 50’ reviews some of the studies on the effect of ageing on athletic or physical performance.

In summary, this is what he reckons:

* Much of the slowing after age 50 is not due to age but self-imposed limitations
* About half the decline is due to inactivity
* Another quarter or so is from reduced intensity in training
* Bottom line: disuse is the biggest single factor

The benefits of training are more than physical. Recent research from the Uni of Qld indicates adequate physical (and mental acitivity [and sexual intercourse!..due to effects of elevated prolactin]) is likely to delay dementia (because of greater recruitment of replacement neurones).

(So, armchair critics who say lycra-clad and other athletes are demented may in fact be at greater risk of going bananas themselves. The abuse of disuse…as bad or worse than over-use??).

Why my renewed interest in cycling? Well, long-distance running is my number # 1 preferred ‘sport’, but unilateral plantar fasciitis has side-lined me since Jan 2004..(after flaring up initially in Sept 2003). Why PF? Well, it is not uncommon in middle-aged active persons (ie athletes in the non-elite sense), especially if they are over-weight and inflexible. (I score on all those points). By the way, for critics of running, walking makes me lame too.

So, I fell into the doldrums, and for a year so have had ‘normal’ (ie average) activity levels for a person in their early 50s. Not good! This has had a negative impact on me at all levels.

So, I am trying to get back into cycling…. for my body and my head. And I have yet to give up my running dreams…


Score out of 10:


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