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by Shane Stokes
March 13, 2018
Kittel wins stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico; Hucker wins stage 2 of the Tour de Taiwan; Fractured hand puts Gaviria out of Milan-San Remo; Sagan shows off sublime bike-handling skills once again; Further scans needed on Eisel’s wrist, Cavendish back training; Tour de France confirms 2020 Grand Départ in Nice; Ageing cyclists display immune system of 20 year olds, plus other health benefits; Long distance solo ride to raise funds for cancer fight; Video: Tomas Slavik’s winning run at Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2018; Video: Dygert’s stunning pursuit world record in the 2018 world track championships
The benefits of cycling have regularly been stated; they now have been further underlined by the results of a scientific study carried out by researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London, and published in the journal Aging Cell. According to the conclusions, carrying out plentiful exercise in old age has a range of benefits, including stopping the immune system from declining.
Prof Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, at the University of Birmingham, and co-author of the research, analysed the data of the 125 long-distance cyclists studied. Some were in their 80s. “The immune system declines by about 2-3% a year from our 20s, which is why older people are more susceptible to infections, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and, potentially, cancer,” she said.
“Because the cyclists have the immune system of a 20-year-old rather than a 70- or 80-year-old, it means they have added protection against all these issues.” Researchers also found that those exercising regularly didn’t suffer a loss of muscle mass and strength, did not have an increase in their body fat or cholesterol levels with age. In the case of the men, their testosterone levels also remained high. This suggested that they may have avoided most of the male menopause.
The suitably named professor Norman Lazarus, 82, of King’s College London, took part in and co-authored the research. He said, “if exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it. It has wide-ranging benefits for the body, the mind, for our muscles and our immune system.”
Click through to read more at the BBC and at Science Daily.