Why do Masters Cyclists Look Younger than their Age?
A few years ago, I had dinner with a group of friends from College. Although we all graduated in the early 80s, had similar careers, and were in basically the same socio-economic group, one thing stood out to me. My friend John and I are masters cyclists and looked significantly younger than the others in the group. Not that the others looked terrible. They just looked like they were in their mid 50’s like we all were at the time. So I wondered to myself, why do masters cyclists look younger?
So I decided to do a little research on why masters cyclists look younger than their age. Note: I don’t have a scientific background, and my career has been in the corporate world of sales and marketing, so this is coming from a non-scientific perspective.
It turns out that masters cyclists look younger due to several reasons.
Cycling is great for cardiovascular health.
Cycling helps to increase blood flow to the skin, which can help to keep the skin looking youthful and radiant. According to the Harvard Medical School, cycling has been associated with a lower risk of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that can be beneficial for cardiovascular health in several ways:
- Improves heart health: Cycling is an effective way to improve cardiovascular health as it increases the heart rate, which helps to strengthen the heart muscles. Regular cycling can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by improving the overall health of the heart.
- Reduces blood pressure: Cycling can help to reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is an effective way to lower systolic blood pressure and can help to prevent hypertension.
- Improves circulation: Cycling increases blood flow to the muscles, which can help to improve circulation throughout the body. This can help to prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Boosts endurance: Cycling is a great way to improve endurance and stamina, which can help to improve cardiovascular health. Regular cycling can help to increase lung capacity and oxygen uptake, which can improve overall fitness.
- Reduces stress: Cycling can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, which are risk factors for heart disease. It is a low-impact exercise that can be done outdoors, which can be a great way to reduce stress and improve mental health.
Overall, cycling is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve overall fitness and well-being.
Cycling strengthens your muscles, including your core.
Cycling helps to improve the muscle tone of your legs, glutes and core. It’s your thigh muscles, specifically your quadriceps, that engage with a pedal when horizontal with the ground, in the pull-upstroke phase. The cycle begins when the hip and knee press down on the pedal. This action is helped by the glutes and quadriceps and, later, by the hamstrings (back of the legs) and calf (lower leg) muscles.
Cycling is an exceptionally good activity to lift and strengthen the glutes, which are responsible for the initiation of the downward phase of the cycling pedal stroke and are therefore worked whenever you’re pedaling.
Cycling is a great exercise for building your abs and strengthening your core, which in turn improves your balance and coordination. By constantly needing to engage your core to keep balanced on the bike, you strengthen the muscle around the trunk. The instability of the bike means that the core is constantly fired to keep you in equilibrium. Here is a link to an article from British GQ that you may find interesting.
Cycling is great for weight management.
Anyone over say, 40 will tell you from personal expersonal experience you gain weight as you get older. The good news is that cycling has proven to be an effective way to lose weight. According to the CDC, a cyclist can burn between 295 and 590 calories an hour riding a bike at moderate speed. Not bad!
Click here to read my Ultimate Weight Guide for the Beginner Cyclist
Cycling is Great for Stress Relief.
What’s the saying? I think it’s “stress kills.” It’s widely understood that stress is a significant factor in the aging process. The good news is that regular cycling reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, according to Harvard Medical School, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Cycling Gives you a Positive Mindset.
Cycling releases our ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins. These hormones help to relax your mind and make you feel happier. Cycling and being outdoors can boost your mood and make them feel good about themselves which can contribute to a youthful appearance.
OK, I think I’ve put together a pretty good case on how cycling keeps you looking younger. I would be remiss to include the many other factors that keep people looking young.
Some of the other factors are…
Wearing sunscreen when outdoors. This is a subject that I will explore in future posts as it’s actually a major risk factor in cycling. In fact, it’s more of a threat than crashing your bike.
Drinking plenty of water. Get plenty of sleep.
Eat a diet rich in plants.
Establish a good routine.
Overall, cycling is a great way to stay healthy and youthful both physically and mentally. I can personally attest to this being true. I hope reading this post can be the spark for you to get motivated to ride a bike.
Some links to other Masters Cycling posts you may find interesting
Comprehensive Review of the Most Popular Cycling Training Programs for Masters Cycling
How to Paint your Bike and make it Look New Again!