The Secret of Longevity

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.
Jonty

The Secret of Longevity

Postby Jonty » 12 Apr 2011, 11:18am

On Sunday during our 55 mile ride I had a chat with Arthur our octogenarian (87) member and asked him the secret of his extraordinary fitness. Arthur had been leading the group for the last 5 miles before the pub-lunch-stop at 17 mph into a slight head wind. He's planning to cycle from John 0 Groats back to the East Midlands this Summer.
Good genes was number 1, he said, sadly in my case. Number 2 was exercise. He was strongly of the view that the medical profession was seriously underestimating the amount of exercise required to keep the human animal in good shape. Although physically solid and muscular, he was a runner and hill-walker before taking up cycling.
He told me that when cycling he likes to get his heart beat rate into his "fitness zone" - which for his age is between 100 and 140 beats per minute - for at least 3 hours per ride.
Sometimes he takes it beyond the "maximum". The last time I did that (in the gym), I thought I was dying or dead.
He cycles most days.
jonty

User avatar
horizon
Posts: 9423
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Cornwall

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby horizon » 12 Apr 2011, 11:33am

I agree. The car is the enemy - it replaces the exercise that was an inevitable and daily part of life and makes going for exercise that bit more formidable.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

User avatar
hubgearfreak
Posts: 8210
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 4:14pm

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby hubgearfreak » 12 Apr 2011, 12:17pm

true - so what's the solution for those with fat kids? diet :roll:

User avatar
gentlegreen
Posts: 1359
Joined: 23 Aug 2010, 1:58pm
Location: Bristol
Contact:

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby gentlegreen » 12 Apr 2011, 12:26pm

I came so close to never discovering cycling - I rode motorcycles for 10 years without the penny dropping - I ate a strict vegan / wholefood diet all that time without spotting the importance of daily exercise - though I'd been brought up in a home with no car and had always been happy to walk a few miles now and again.

Then at 27 (after finding myself too poor to fix my motorcycle) I cycled to work and back for 20 years without thinking I was capable of even cycling 10 miles - let alone the 50 that doesn't faze me now - albeit with good company and a decent lunch break.

My feeling now as I whizz past youngsters trapped in their cars is that they have less excuse than I did - they have the internet and government health campaigns everywhere - but then you still see youngsters smoking ....

What held me back all those years was a very strong distaste for "sport" .. unimaginative school games masters have a lot to answer for.

Jonty

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby Jonty » 12 Apr 2011, 1:02pm

hubgearfreak wrote:true - so what's the solution for those with fat kids? diet :roll:


Fat children seem to have fat parents and fat grandparents based on my admittedly subjective observation. I suppose breaking the fat cycle could be as difficult as breaking the poverty/unemployability cycle.
jonty

kwackers
Posts: 13379
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby kwackers » 12 Apr 2011, 1:03pm

hubgearfreak wrote:true - so what's the solution for those with fat kids? diet :roll:

The world needs soap...

User avatar
gentlegreen
Posts: 1359
Joined: 23 Aug 2010, 1:58pm
Location: Bristol
Contact:

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby gentlegreen » 12 Apr 2011, 1:11pm

Recreational eating on a huge scale ... food abstracted through the use of circus imagery and plastic gifts.
It's a bit like the way they market cars these days.

At least with the Roman orgy and beer-kebab combo there's vomiting involved afterwards.

irc
Posts: 4535
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby irc » 12 Apr 2011, 3:28pm

To be fair I think the suggestions for 30 mins exercise, 3 times a week (or whatever) a week are a minimum and that is for hard exercise. Perhaps more attention needs to be paid to the benefits of low level exercise. I put on weight when I went to a desk job after a job that involved driving a car for varying periods of time mixed with frequent stops to walk short distances or climb stairs. The standing joke being that any call to a block of flats was always on the top floor. Until I tried the desk job I would have discounted getting any benefit from my everday work routine.

Fits with the fact one of the first studies showing the benefits of moderate exercise was comparing bus drivers and conductors. Same social background and pay etc but one sitting all day, the other on his feet all day.

http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medic ... udy/813979

All that said the fittest 87 year old I know has cycled, roch climbed and ran marathons all his life. I'd guess he has averaged upwards of 10 hours of strenous exercise every week in life. Certainly up until recent years. Even now he goes hillwalking.

But while moderate exercise may bring great benefits I'm not doubting that more is better as long as it doesn't bring problems with over stressing joints etc.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46044
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby Mick F » 12 Apr 2011, 3:48pm

irc wrote:To be fair I think the suggestions for 30 mins exercise, 3 times a week (or whatever) a week are a minimum and that is for hard exercise. Perhaps more attention needs to be paid to the benefits of low level exercise.

I mentioned on another thread a few weeks ago, that Mrs Mick F was the local lollipop lady for many years. We lived at the top of Gunnislake Hill in those days and she'd walk down to the village and back twice a day. (in the mornings, she took the dog with her!) Threequarters of a mile each way, down and back up a monster of a 12% hill.

It took her 30mins each way at first, but within a few months, she was doing it in 15mins each way.

Does a 15min walk four times a day make you fit and healthy?

Not according to the experts!
Mick F. Cornwall

kwackers
Posts: 13379
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby kwackers » 12 Apr 2011, 4:19pm

Mick F wrote:Does a 15min walk four times a day make you fit and healthy?

Not according to the experts!

That's a bit unfair - they're talking about on the flat.

My view of exercise is simple. You're only ever good at what you do.

In the past I used to row, I was excellent at it but couldn't run more than 100 yards without collapsing. Now I can run 20+ miles every weekend, but can't row to save my life...

User avatar
al_yrpal
Posts: 7621
Joined: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47pm
Location: Cully
Contact:

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby al_yrpal » 12 Apr 2011, 4:29pm

About 20 years ago in the village where I live there was a doctor named William Bird. He invited everybody to the school field where he took everyones blood pressure before and after a 1 mile walk, and then again after 10 minutes . Bird started health walks for villagers these rapidly took off. He tested people regularly and kept records of how peoples general health improved with fitness. Then he started what he called the Green Gym, where the villagers who didnt want to just walk cleared scrub, layed hedges and did physical community work in the countryside. Both of these schemes, which are still going strong today, were copied everywhere and spread to the whole of Britain.

Every Tuesday evening up to 50 cyclists assemble at the village health centre car park and there are four rides from beginners to expert. The easiest is a 10 mile road ride to a pub. The most difficult being a very tough off road hike of 20 miles on bridleways. Hardly anyone is a real cyclist who identifies with CTC or a club. The GPs from the surgery lead a couple of the rides, and they are enjoyed by all. In the winter the toughest group ride off road with lights.

Last Sunday we had 'On yer Bike' raising money for the village Primary School and local charities. Over 600 people came (the population is about 4000) Little tots did a ride around the school playground. There were 5, 12 and 25 mile routes around the South Chilterns, so it catered for all. You could choose what you did. http://www.onyourbikesonningcommon.co.uk/

The point about all these things is that the are INCLUSIVE, anyone can have a go however unfit or able they are. I think died in wool cyclists can be a bit intimidating to the average Joe, and this prevents some from giving cycling a go and raising their own fitness. When its really for anybody lots more people join in.

William Bird got an MBE for his work last year.

Al
Last edited by al_yrpal on 12 Apr 2011, 4:42pm, edited 1 time in total.
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

User avatar
Mick F
Spambuster
Posts: 46044
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby Mick F » 12 Apr 2011, 4:32pm

Mrs Mick F was given a form to fill in to say how much exercise she took and the recommendation/aim was 30mins at a single time and that raised your heart rate. It suggested that any less, you had to do better and you would be considered unfit!

At that time, it was taking her 15mins each way. She was quite angry with the form - to say the least - and screwed it up!

I agree that the better you get at doing something, the less effort you put in and the faster you can do it. I can cycle for 50 miles without any prep at all, perhaps even 100miles - and that's round here! I could do it with hardly a worry or a build-up.

I doubt I could run half a mile without being absolutely pooped.
Mick F. Cornwall

Jonty

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby Jonty » 12 Apr 2011, 5:43pm

I was recently suprised to find out that there are still people about - and I'm serious about this - who think that exercise is bad for you and it's better to be quite fat.
I think it's a hangover from the days - comparitively recent - when most working men and women did hard physical work, were knackered and had to rest when they got home and the people who seemed to avoid early death and diseases like comsumption were middle-class professionals such as doctors and ministers of religion who tended to over-eat.
For most working people from the 1920's to the 1960's you rested after work and being overweight was healthy and being slim was unhealthy and possibly associated with TB.
My parents used to say somone was "looking well" if they were overweight and had a pink complexion.
It's amazing to think that such attitudes persist and all the information about exercise and controlling weight seems to have missed so many people.
jonty

Jonty

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby Jonty » 12 Apr 2011, 6:20pm

Also let's be honest - there's a lot of cheapskates around. I know people who are very well off, live in big houses, eat a bacon cob for lunch, walk around in Oxfam clothes, drive a sub-£1k car, economise on razor blades and have never bought a round.
That's why they're wealthy.
For them £80 for a bike would be exorbitant.
jonty

User avatar
ferrit worrier
Posts: 5223
Joined: 27 Jun 2008, 7:58pm
Location: south Manchester

Re: The Secret of Longevity

Postby ferrit worrier » 12 Apr 2011, 9:28pm

What tickles me is the advert for one of those exercise machines you put your feet on while sat watching the tele!!!! they cost about £100 quid or so. WHAT!!! get off your bum and get walking save your self the reddies.then get a bike. Ok that might be a bit unfair to the infirm or the arthritic. But, three years ago I had knee problems, back problems, Then, halelujiah? I saw my old bike, :D and the light (hole in shed roof) :lol: not looked back since, except when turning right of course! I'm just hoping the weather holds out for weekend, Friday I'm booked in at Kings YHA Dolgellau. that'll be a good 90 /100 miles. Got to get ready for June :D

I also think that it is a state of mind as well, exercise, and a will to keep fit, It would be great if I could do a 100 miler on my 100 birthday, but I might need to borrow a trike for that :lol:
Percussive maintainance, if it don't fit, hit it with the hammer.