Is There a Sweet Spot for Maximum Health Benefits from Riding?

Video Transcription:

Hi, it's Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. So isn't there a sweet spot for healthful age benefits from riding the bike? You know, we all hope so because it's something we enjoy doing. So I think, I actually missed this study. This is something that came out in 2018. There was an article in Bicycle Magazine about it and, I actually had Kati pulled the original study.

So this study. Done by University of Sydney, I think down in Australia. It's very interesting. So, they basically followed about 3,500 people age 49 and older, and they're measuring. So what was the effect on their life? The quality of life. They're aging were those people who had the highest level of physical activity.

Okay. So there's sort of defining successful aging as the absence of depression, symptoms, disability, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms and cancers and coronary heart disease. Pretty big list. This is a self reported study. But what was really amazing to me was that older adults.

So this is 49 and olders studied for 10 year period and what they found was older adults with the highest level of physical activity, we're twice as likely to stuff to enjoy successful aging as I've defined what the absence of all these symptoms. Then those people who had the lowest level of physical activity.

So they broke it down into. So what is the highest level of activity? So, you know, that a MET is a metabolic equivalent unit is a measure of exercise. I think it's oxygen burning, and there's various places you can look at how many METs we burn when we're on the bike at various levels. So the study concluded that older adults who had 5,000 or above metabolic minute units per week are they 5,000 minutes metabolic units, METs, created a greatest benefit for successful aging. So, what does that break down answers just to kind of put it into what we do? So at 12, and so I went to Bicycling Magazine, also had a great article on this thing in 2018. Their title was "Here's Why You Should Ride for 10 Hours Every Week."

This is an article by Selene Yeager, July 25th, 2018 and So they broke it down for the, for the METs, for the average rider, 10 hours a week. That's basically 12 to 14 miles an hour. Okay. That produces eight METs per minute, need 625 minutes to reach your 5,000 and that's 10 hours a week.

It's at 12 to 14 miles an hour. Or 14 to 16 miles an hour. That's 10 METs per minute. You need 500 minutes. That's 8.3 hours a week. Okay. I'm going to give you a simple chart here in a minute and then 16 to 19 miles an hour is roughly 12 METs per minute. 116 minutes equals seven hours. So here's a little chart that I worked up.

So you can meet this 5,000 METs minutes per week threshold, the 12 to 14 miles an hour. You need 10 hours at 14 and 16 miles an hour. You need 8.3 hours. Yeah. 16 to 19 miles an hour. He had seven hours per week. That speed on the bike. You get to your 5,000 METs where we were minutes per week threshold.

I remember that the study actually showed that those who exceeded 5,000 MET minutes per week had the greatest health benefit. I've had this conversation with Dr. Mirkin. If you don't have Dr. Mirkin's e-zine, I would highly suggest you get it. The doctor D-R M- I- R-K- I-N e-zine or and sign up for his e-zine.

I'm sure that Dr. Mirkin probably covered the study in 2018. I did not check to see he and I have had this conversation before and, you know, he said Jim, the studies all show that would you call it, um, those who ride at high levels for the longest period of time with the greatest health benefits.

I think what's so significant about this article is, you know, you have the World Health Organization, which is in the news right now. Unfortunately, I'm saying that the average person only needed 600 Mmm. Per week. Well, 600 per week. Doesn't do much of anything to move the needle. The baseline that they were studying against the 5,000 METs per minute, versus the person has a thousand METs per minute.

Uh, and they had a twofold increase in health benefits over the person with a thousand. The World Health Organization was only recommending 600 so it's way off the money. And the conclusion of the authors was we're way under representing what people need to be doing in order to get maximum health benefits from cycling or exercising in general.

I think it's you know, when we look at this, there's a lot of studies that have shown in general, it exercising, prolongs, life increases, quality of life makes things generally better for everyone. Uh, this is the first one that I had seen, kind of broke it down and said what you can do. And what level of exercise actually produces a quantitative improvement, perhaps Dr. Mirkin's report on this, but, you know, looking again at successful aging and you know, this was saying that. For the maximum benefits. This is someone who's going to have they, as they age. I remember they're saying normal aging includes being exposed to all of these things, which I'm going to read off. But if you exercise at the highest levels, it get your 5,000 MET minutes for a week.

You have the greatest opportunity to avoid these things at the, at the highest level. Yep. Two times more likely not to have these things where basically cutting your risk in half.  It's the absence of stroke. It's the absence of coronary artery disease, angina, heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, optimal, cognitive and physical, mental respiratory, and vascular function.The lack of disability. And being functionally independent, you know, that is probably the list, but everyone in the back of their mind has most concerned about as we age all of these hot topic, health issues, and according to this study. And, it'd be interesting to seeing if anyone has more information about this than I do, whether there's been follow up studies or even perhaps larger studies set up address this issue.

But I think that this is something that we can all measure decide what level of benefit we want to achieve and then attack it. So it's just a matter of doing more of what we enjoy doing. No, if you want, you want to get it done in seven hours, your ride faster. If you want to do it in 10 hours, drive slower.It's there for everyone can calculate their their level of activity and determine how many. Hours a week, they need to be on their bike to get these benefits. So I thought this was pretty interesting. I think it's really helpful for us to understand kind of how to cut our risks for getting to any of these debilitating conditions.

I know that we're continuing to be in this Coronavirus issue environment. I just, I think it's still a great time to be on our bikes. I think people are tired of riding solo, but I'm again, suggesting it's the right thing to do. I did read of a club that had a bike ride this last week that had 32nd intervals where they started everyone and social distancing at the rest stops.

No, I thought that was an interesting way to approach it. That to me, I, I felt I would feel safe getting into a ride where 32nd interval between each participant. Everybody's gonna do what they think is the right thing for them, but. So let's all address these issues responsibly and, hey, who we're called to be in the community.

Set good examples for those around us. If you have questions or comments about what I've said today, I'd love to hear from you. I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. Let's be safe. Take care. Bye.


Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.