A recent Facebook post about a French cyclist named Robert Marchand who set a new world cycling record wouldn’t normally catch my attention. But the difference is that Marchand is 105 years old. He peddled 14 miles in less than an hour to set the new record for bicycling in the “over 100” age group. He told reporters that he could have gone faster but missed a timing marker during the ride. The guy is a beast. Even more interesting is that he started a new aerobic training regimen at age 103 to prepare for the ride. He took up riding when he was 68 years old, so it wasn’t just a continuation of a lifetime activity. This backs up the medical evidence that humans can benefit from strength training and aerobic conditioning no matter what age they begin. In fact, studies show that there is very little difference in the ability to build muscle when you are 80 as opposed to when you’re 30.
If you Google 80 year old athletes you’ll get a plethora of names. Of course not everyone aspires to set a world record nor do you need to. The message is that it’s never too late to make a commitment to better your physical being. Exercise also helps improve mood and can be very sociable when done in groups- which is another predictor of long life.
From Rich Synnott, UVAC Executive Director