By LMQC Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell, St. Ambrose communications professor, RAGBRAI-er, pizza lover and longtime weight watcher.
I love to ride through QC neighborhoods on early Sunday mornings, but during the week stick mostly to the area’s great bike paths. Fortunately, you can have both in Bettendorf, where extra-wide sidewalks run through neighborhoods to invite biking, running and walking.
No matter where I ride, though, I am instantly 10 years old again every spring, rolling down the sidewalk, away from my parents’ house, out into the world of endless possibilities.
Every year, on that first ride, in the first 100 yards, my mind flashes back to my first bike: a royal blue, 16-inch girls bike, handed down from my sister to my brother to me.
It’s not the bike I focus on. Heck, it was too big AND it was a girl’s bike. But it was the feeling of freedom I got and still get, each time I get on a bike.
On a bike, you feel young again. And actually, it may be more than a feeling. Scientists in England found that riding a bike can slow the aging process dramatically.
The idea for the study came from King’s College Professor Norman Lazarus who is an avid bike rider. He’s 82 and feels good. Really good. He’d been expecting to feel old at his age but he didn’t. He wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that he loves to ride his bike.
So he and his colleagues studied 125 amateur cyclists between the ages of 55 and 79. What they found was that like other avid exercisers, these folks had good heart heath, bone density and muscle mass.
But what was surprising was how the decades of bike riding influenced their immune systems. Researchers say that some aspects of their immune systems were like that of 20-year-old kids. Another benefit was that the men’s testosterone level did not decrease.
So start peddling!
|Meet Battle of the Bulge blogger, Alan Sivell. Alan is a communications professor at St. Ambrose University and a former reporter for WQAD-TV who has exercised – and dieted – his entire life. Read Alan’s other blog posts.|