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They don't understand!(30 posts)

They don't understand!Len J
Jan 23, 2002 6:10 AM
At Dinner the other night with my Wife & 21 yr old daughter, we got talking about what we would like to be like when we are much older. I made the comment that I would like to be able to ride my age in miles when I'm 80 (80 miles on my 80th b/day). They both reacted as if I'd said something stupid. Both of them argued that this was not a healthy goal, that by 80 I will have worn out my joints if I keep this up till then.

My wife, who is an nurse, has had this reaction whenever I talk about doing (what she calls) excessive miles. She believes that anything over a certain point (when it comes to exercise) is actually detrimental to the body. She doesn't believe that more is better, and in fact is adament that I am hurting myself. My counter is that, as long as I train smart, pay attention to my body and eat and rest right that my body will adapt, regenerate & be stronger as a result of the effort.

The bottom line for my wife is that she believes that "excessive" milage will shorten my life, not lengthen it. I believe the opposite.

Anyone have any data/studies to support either position?

Obviously I think I'm right but what if I'm wrong?


re: They don't understand!PaulS
Jan 23, 2002 6:22 AM
It's true that pro road racers have a shorter life expectancy, but she's probably worried about impotence!
re: They don't understand!descente
Jan 23, 2002 6:23 AM
There was an article in Bicycling magazine several issues ago on cycling through the different age groups. It covered the teenage years up to a man still riding in his 90's!

Check it out....
Does anecdotal evidence help?McAndrus
Jan 23, 2002 6:38 AM
If she's a nurse she may be looking for empirical data. I do know, though, a couple of riders in their 70s. They ride long and strong: I see them every year on the DALMAC ride in Michigan - four centuries over four days.

They seem pretty vigorous to me and they appear to be very happy.
re: They don't understand!OldEdScott
Jan 23, 2002 7:02 AM
There's a point at which that happens -- the body and its various systems do have a finite capacity before wearing out -- but it's doubtful anyone but pro racer would reach it. See life expectancy of Tour de France winners. You'd have to ignore a LOT of warning signs and ride through lots of pain. At the time/distances we're talking about on this board, probably not a concern, and in fact the benefits almost certainly outweigh the risks.
re: They don't understand!NYCyclist
Jan 23, 2002 7:08 AM
There was a study within the last two years that looked at Ironman distance triathletes before and after a IM distance race to determine weather they suffered any cardiac damage during their effort. I only read a synopsis of the study, but apparently it showed a bunch of the athletes had myocardial damage evidenced by cardiac enzymes in their blood and echocardiogram changes post-race. Of course, these guys were racing, not doing the "easy miles" that someone might do just to stay healthy. I'll try to find the study and provide you with a link.

So, it appears that there is evidence that shows you can cause damage to your heart by doing "excessive" miles if you push it hard. Do this enough times, and I would guess that you could damage your heart enough to possibly shorten your life. Anecdotally, I'm with you... seems that if you exercise regularly, eat right, and listen to your body you should, I hope, live longer.
re: They don't understand!Lone Gunman
Jan 23, 2002 7:29 AM
I hope to be one of those guys still riding centuries when I'm 80. I @ 42 think I have a good shot at doing it as this bicycling thing does not seem to be a passing fad for me, kinda 12 years semi serious and counting. My father is 80 and although he is not in the best of health, he never exercised and smoked for 25 years but is still going strong for his condition. They will not understand because they are not part of it, it being the whole endorphin thing cyclists feel that keeps them going back to the endorphin well for more. Even if favorable hard data were presented, what argument have you really won? Does your wife really know what excessive mileage is? Could there be an underlying message being sent that you are spending too much time on the bike and not enough on her? Just some thoughts....

Have a good day.
Good questions.....Len J
Jan 23, 2002 7:43 AM
which we talked about.

No she is OK with the time issue.
She doesn't know what excessive milage is, however, the underlying issue is as I described it, she believes that exercise beyond a "reasonable amount" (Pinned down she would probably say 30 min to 2 hours) hurts your overall health & longevity. She honestly believes it is not good for you. She is the first to admit that everyone is different & that while 1 hour per day is perfect for her, more could be right for me, however, she thinks that beyond some level it is bad physically for you.

She is not anti-exercise, in fact just the opposite. She does work out around 1 hr per day/ 6 days/wk. She does a combination of treadmill, cycling, low weight/high repitition weightlifting & yoga. For her it is a volume/benefit or risk issue.

Analysis.Dog Breath
Jan 23, 2002 7:33 AM
Just a theory:

Your wife doesn't like you spending too much time on your bike because it takes away from quality time with her and your family. She may also be worried about your safety. This may be the basis for her excess miles reasoning.

The world's oldest man just died at appox. 113 years of age. He herded ship well past his century mark, and drank a little red wine every day. I believe he was Italian, which wouldn't hurt either.

Activity is good for the mind, body and soul.
You don't know my wife..........Len J
Jan 23, 2002 7:48 AM
if she had a problem with my time on the bike, she would say "I have a problem with how much time you are spending riding!" :). Subtle she is not. (It's one of the things I love about her.)

The thrust of our discussion was about being 80 and what we would like to be doing.

I couldn't agree more with your comment about "Activity is good for the mind....." I will not be an 80 yr old waiting to die, I want to be an 80 yr old who is still living & still learning & still growing!

I think you already have the answerTig
Jan 23, 2002 8:23 AM
You know your body and limits better than anyone. You are using a great approach, "as long as I train smart, pay attention to my body and eat and rest right that my body will adapt, regenerate & be stronger as a result of the effort". By never letting up too much, yet not overdoing it, we can maintain great health and fitness longer than most people think. When most people look at someone who is 80, they see the results of the ol' standard habits that proceeded, like high fat, high cholesterol diets and low exercise levels of middle age and retirement. If you avoid that trap, you will never fall into that category.

You must also consider your family medical history and genetic tendencies. Do your parents and grand parents have a history of cardiac disease or problems, hypertension, diabetes, etc.? How long did your great-grandparents and grandparents live (hopefully still alive and well)? OK, if someone smoked their whole life, the problems they have could be from that and not past family history. Even the most healthy lifestyle can't prevent late life CVA's (strokes) and other events that give no warnings. This is all just something to consider. My wife is a nurse also, and she keeps her eye on my health as well.

My dad is coming up on 69. He is hyper and full of energy, and is active, to put it mildly. He discovered the joys of MTB this last fall and absolutely loves it! So much in fact, he plunked down for his 3rd bike, an OCLV Trek. He rides most of the time in the hills around San Miguel Allendé, Mexico, or our local single track. Having a little emphysema from his smoking days, a slightly elevated cholesterol level, as well as hepatitis A and B hold him back a little. The rest of the family thinks he is over doing it, but I noticed that when we ride together, he keeps himself within his limits. I only wish he would have taken it up 10+ years ago. No telling what riding could have done for his health if started even earlier. He has always worked out everyday and watched what he eats these last 15 years.

I don't want to ever give up consistant riding, now that I've gotten back into it. I think it is the key to a healthy middle and retirement age. It soothes the mind as well.
Thanks for the reply.Len J
Jan 23, 2002 2:23 PM
Genetically, the only predisposition I have is to become an Alcaholic. Since I don't drink I'm not worried. My Dad died of Lung cancer after 55 yrs of 3 packs a day & no exercise, Mom of Cancer due to some anti mis-carriage drugs she took. Grandparents all lived long (Or would have if not for war). So I'm not to worried about the genetics.

That's great about your Dad. Shame he didn't take it up sooner, but at least he has taken it up. There are some studies that show that routine exercise can reverse the effects of some years of inactivity.

I don't want to give it up either.

abstain from your wife!!!naff geezer
Jan 23, 2002 7:52 AM
use her logic and point out that excessive "lovin" is detrimental to the body.

see how fast she will negate her own logic.

hee hee.....
That reminds me of an old joke..........Len J
Jan 23, 2002 8:02 AM
Guy & his wife on thier honeymoon.

While they are dressing, he hands her his pants & tells her to put them on. Since he is much bigger then her, as soon as she pulls them up and lets go, they fall to the floor.

He says, try again. She does with the same result. "I can't wear these pants!" she says.

He replies: "And don't ever forget who wears the pants in the family!"

She thinks for a minute, and then takes off her undies, hands them to him and tells him to put them on.

He tries, but of course, can't get them above his knees. He says: "I can't get into these panties!"

To which she replies: "And you won't, until you change your attitude!"

LOL.....joke or experience? :-) (NM)naff geezer
Jan 23, 2002 8:16 AM
That reminds me of an old nursing joke...Tig
Jan 23, 2002 8:31 AM
Your wife who is a nurse will like this one!

Two widowed elderly people in a retirement home get the hots for each other and head for bed. As they are halfway into striping off their clothes and are ready to get to business, the old lady says, "I have to warn you. I have acute angina."

The old man with a hearing problem replies, "Well I sure hope so, 'cause your t*ts hang to the ground!"

Sorry, it's much better said than read...
regular cardio-vascular activity promotes a better blood..naff geezer
Jan 23, 2002 9:09 AM
flow to all parts of the body including the EXTREMETIES.

this is of obvious benefit to you and your wife. imagine at the age of 80 to still be able to hang three wet towels off the end of your *&%^*&*)------- - ...

(line interupted an cut off - static)
No pictures this time, please!!!!!! ;-) (nm)morrison
Jan 23, 2002 11:36 AM
re: They don't understand!morey
Jan 23, 2002 8:03 AM
On this board I saw where a 95 yr. old man was still riding, and in fact still doing Centuries. I understand that he was also written up in Bicycling magazine.
Life is what you make of it!Softrider
Jan 23, 2002 8:09 AM
I have a neighbor and riding buddy that is 72 years old. He is in better shape than most 30 year olds. He is retired and can ride whenever he wants (lucky dog).
same hereTig
Jan 23, 2002 8:36 AM
One of the regular riders I know is into his 70's and can ride longer than many younger riders. If you see him off the bike, you'd never think he was in such good shape. He doesn't walk very smoothly, is hunched over a little, and is pudgy. Put him on a bike and he glides along like he was half his age, or less!

Needless to say, he is well respected among his riding peers.
Just tell her that you know of these nutcases in the District...MB1
Jan 23, 2002 8:16 AM
And that you have no intentions of riding as much as they do. Because you share her concern about your long term health there is no way you will do 2 centuries every weekend. Tell her that you will carefully limit your self to 10 or 15 (or whatever) centuries per year and less than 10,000 miles.

Don't argue with her, agree with her. Just put in self imposed limits that get you all the miles and rides that you dream of.
Cycling may not add days to your lifeStraightblock
Jan 23, 2002 8:39 AM
but it will add life to your days. Something a former teammate once told me.

Jim Fixx, the author of the 1977 bestseller "The Complete Book of Running" and who is credited by many with helping start America's fitness revolution, died in his early 50s of a heart attack while running. I'm sure many people think that excessive exercise shortened his life, but a look at his family history shows many of his male relatives died of heart trouble in their 30s & 40s. Maybe his "excessive" running helped him beat his genetics and gave him a few extra years. I'm sure he enjoyed his time more than if he hadn't been running.

I lived at home with my parents during college when I was racing bikes and they never seemed to worry about the 300-400 mile weeks or the long stage races as something harmful. Yet when I ran my first marathon a few years ago at age 43, after watching me finish my mother told me I should never run another one (it wasn't that bad, really). Maybe as we near or pass the midpoint of our life our loved ones start to realize that we're not immortal and just want to protect us.
Great QuoteLen J
Jan 23, 2002 2:25 PM
Cycling may not add days to your life
but it will add life to your days.

I like that! Think I'll steal it.

Jan 23, 2002 11:17 AM
Okay, I saw this dad of a girl I went to high school with when I was on a training ride one Saturday. He was running, looking pretty strong going u a hill. I got near the top (where he lives), and there was his wife and a few grandchildren next to a little table with water and such. I stopped to talk with them a little, and as this guy approached, they started cheering. Kind of odd, I thought. I asked what was up. They said he was just finishing running 60 miles on his 60th birthday! Damn! I don't know if he does this every year, and I know he's done a LOT of long distance running, but he doesn't seem any worse for the wear (which is A LOT more than cycling).
drink more ensure!!!!grandemamou
Jan 23, 2002 12:34 PM
While out on a training ride I saw a group of riders on the side of the road changing a tire. I pulled over to see if I could help and shortly a support truck pulled up. Turned out it was a group of riders sponsered by ensure. They were riding from San Diego to J'ville, Fl. Youngest of the group was 58 the oldest was 72. I slowed down and rode with them the rest of the way into town. All I kept thinking was how cool it would be if I could do this one day.
re: They don't understand!xxl
Jan 23, 2002 2:05 PM
You say your wife gets torqued when you talk about doing "excessive" miles? Then don't talk about it in front of her.

How could it fail?
More miles = more exposure timeTypeOne
Jan 23, 2002 8:28 PM
I'm not too worried about working out too hard or hurting myself, as I assume it is all beneficial. But what I really worry about is the possibility of serious injury from collisions.
I ride centuries, race a little, and commute about 4 days a week. That's a lot of cars whizzing by, particularly on the commute. No matter how careful I remain, I feel like this is the riskiest thing I do. A co-worker joked that I should ride faster to "limit my exposure time" with automobiles.
If I survive the idiots on the road, my health will be fine.
I think most of us feel the same way. -NMTig
Jan 24, 2002 9:37 AM
Just explain the simple facts to themmuncher.
Jan 24, 2002 9:49 AM
What's the point of them buying you a Ti, Colnago, Softride, tourer, fixie, ss, shopper, bent, TT, CX, MTB and a trainer if you aren't going to ride them?

(Don't mention that I told you though)...