Is it possible to reverse – or at least arrest – the effects of ageing? Since humans discovered the first wrinkle they’ve searched for an answer, yet despite a plethora of anti-ageing pills and potions, the fountain of youth has remained elusive.
The older we get, the frailer our bodies become as our muscles tire from the wear and tear of everyday life. Cycling, it has been shown, could be the answer to prolonging your golden years.
A recent study tested 125 amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79 against a group of adults who didn’t exercise on a regular basis. The findings showed that the cyclists maintained consistent levels of muscle mass and strength, and stable amounts of body fat and cholesterol, as they aged.
The results also indicated that, in addition to lessening the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the cyclists’ thymuses (the organ that produces disease-combating T-cells, but which diminishes after our teen years) were found to be still functioning as well as those of people much younger.
Of course, any form of exercise is good for the ageing body, so why cycling in particular?
The answer seems to be that cyclists push their cardiovascular systems harder and therefore prevent the physical deterioration caused by inactivity – which is on the increase due to the sedentary, office-based work lives so many of us now lead.
If the physical health benefits of cycling aren’t enough to get your wheels spinning, a broad range of studies have also explored the benefits on riders’ mental health, with evidence suggesting those who cycle to work regularly are actually happier than those opting for other modes of transport.
Including some thigh-burning pedaling to your weekly routine doesn’t necessarily require investment in your own bike, either. Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research, says “adding just two Les Mills Sprint workouts per week has been shown to increase VO2 [aerobic fitness] by around 10 percent, meaning not only are these workouts effective, but anyone can do them and feel like a pro right from the start.”
Les Mills Sprint is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a proven way to improve fitness and lung, heart and circulatory health – all key to slowing the ageing process.
If Sprint doesn’t sound like your thing but you’re still keen on the idea of spinning your way to eternal youth, try out The TRIP™. This innovative, multi-peak cycle class will take you through a digitally-created world of ice glaciers, jungles and underwater caverns, thanks to a cinema scale screen and cutting-edge sound system. Perfect for thrill-seekers, you can reap all the many health benefits of cycling in this exhilarating 40 minute session.
If you’re new to group cycling and want to start out at your own pace, Les Mills RPM™ is a great place to start. This lower impact class uses cardio peak training to put your aerobic fitness to the test along with the motivation of your instructor and a playlist of banging tunes!
Always putting your safety first, your Village Gym cycle studios have been kitted out with Aeromax Air Filtration systems to keep the air your breathing clean. Studios are expertly cleaned in between all classes and bikes have been spaced out to adhere to social distancing requirements. Find out more about everything we’re doing to keep you safe here.
So why not give group cycling a go, in the knowledge that you’re not just keeping fit, you’re pedaling back the years as well.