Ever Wondered What Two Weeks of Being Lazy Does to Your Body?

It’s the season of poolside piña coladas, lazy days, and vacations from the gym — which, as any swimsuit-wearing gal or chest-baring guy can attest, adds up to less-than-desirable results. How fast, exactly, will your muscle tone and strength deteriorate? That’s what researchers from the University of Copenhagen set out to determine in a new study, published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Source: What Two Weeks of Being Lazy Does to Your Body

It’s personally interesting, given that I broke a rib in March.   It was a week before I felt I’d dare try cycling.  It would be weeks before I’d try swimming, which in retrospect I still should not have done.  Back to my cycling – I went from leading the group to barely hanging on.  The best I could do was 2/3rds of the ride, and I’d get dropped on the hill climb because I no longer had the sustained power necessary to at least stay in the pack or be close enough to sprint up to the group after the hill.  I have to be more economic about my riding… for now, but I can dig in if necessary.

I’m roughly a little better than where I was last year, starting from zero in March.  So I’m waiting for cyclocross season in September to do what it did last year – race to a higher degree of fitness.  It was a shame to loose that fitness as triathlon season started, but I’ve got time.  I did better than I expected leading into 2015, so I fulfilled my promise about investing in a real road bike for next season.

Study: Serious Cycling ‘Keeps You Young’

A study of fit amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 found that many were physically and biologically much younger than most people of the same age.

The 81 male and 41 female participants underwent extensive tests of their heart, lung, neuromuscular, metabolic, and hormonal functions.

Their reflexes, muscle and bone strength, and oxygen uptake were also measured, as well as mental ability and general health and well-being.

The results showed that among the cyclists the effects of ageing were far from obvious, with younger and older members of the group having similar levels of muscle strength, lung power and exercise capacity.

Source: Serious cycling ‘keeps you young’

Funny – I heard something similar about running.  So I figure some form of cardio exercise is good.

Study: Run to Stay Young

Running may reverse aging in certain ways while walking does not, a noteworthy new study of active older people finds. The findings raise interesting questions about whether most of us need to pick up the pace of our workouts in order to gain the greatest benefit.

Walking is excellent exercise. No one disputes that idea. Older people who walk typically have a lower incidence of obesity, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, and longer lifespans than people who are sedentary. For many years, in fact, physicians and scientists have used how far and fast someone can walk as a marker of health as people age.

But researchers and older people themselves also have noted that walking ability tends to decline with age. Older people whose primary exercise is walking often start walking more slowly and with greater difficulty as the years pass, fatiguing more easily.

The good news for people who don’t currently run is that you may be able to start at any age and still benefit, Dr. Ortega said. “Quite a few of our volunteers hadn’t take up running until they were in their 60s,” he said.

Source: Run to Stay Young

Distance running does not come naturally to me.  I was a 100 m sprinter in school.  There’s some debate that sprinters are an oddity, because hunting would have suited distance runners along with some physiology clues.  Some still use subsistence hunting, where you don’t catch your prey – you just run it to the point of its exhaustion.  Me?  I’d be making myself useful picking berries and other resources…

Running is probably the easiest, cheapest sport to get into.  But not everyone knows how to run properly, which the article does not mention, and leads to injuries.  For new runners, I really suggest at least taking the occasional clinic if not joining a running group.  It helps motivation to have people to run with and you’re safer too.  But technique critique and improvement are what will minimize injuries when you’re like me.

I still run …but only when chased 😉