On the merits of cycling

Read in a recent Globe&Mail article the following:

Researchers at the University of Valencia in Spain collected birth and death data on 834 cyclists who rode in the Tour between 1930 and 1964, representing the majority of competitors from France, Italy and Belgium during those years. They compared the data to average figures for people born in those countries in the relevant years, publishing the results in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The finding: Median age of death was 73.5 years for the controls compared to 81.5 years for the cyclists, and the mean lifespan was 17 per cent longer for the cyclists.

In the context of the article, the implication was that the effect on extreme athletes. Thinking about the cyclists in the study who participated in the tour from 1930-1964, I have to wonder. In that era, cyclists would stop along the way at a bar for a drink when they got thirsty. However, the real implication is that serious determined exercise on a regular basis will have long term benefits.

Something to ponder as you smell the fresh cut alfalfa on your next ride. Oh – one more thing. The way Jim and Neil are outcycling each other, I think they will both outlive each other as well.

5 thoughts on “On the merits of cycling

  1. I hate to be the devil’s advocate, but with these kind of studies concerning top athletes, I have to wonder whether their superior genetics that allowed them to be world class athletes, also gave them extra longevity and maybe the exercise aspect was not the main cause. However, I strongly believe in the benefits of cardio exercise, as many other studies seem to indicate it adds vigor and health as well as longevity.

  2. I’m hoping they’re right – or – that you’re right, Werner. If Jim and I outlive each other, that means we’ll never die!

  3. P.S. If you really want to understand the benefits of exercise read the book “Spark” by John J. Ratey, MD.

  4. Creates a conundrum – keep working (and cycling) to pay for the bigger retirement pension needed, due to the 17% longer life, or quite cycling, retire earlier and die when the $ is gone? Solution – keep cycling, quit working at 55 and take my revenge on Ottawa for years of over-taxation on middle income wage earners, like me, by sucking OAS & GIS dry. Or…don’t think about any of it and go for a nice ride because tomorrow is a just a promise that may never come.

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