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Does Really Tough Exercise Make You Feel Younger?
Old 07-04-2015, 10:04 AM   #1
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Does Really Tough Exercise Make You Feel Younger?

When I go for a fifty-mile or longer bike ride, the last ten miles are usually torture. I get home and I feel really beat up. I might feel extra tired for the next day or two.

The question I have is whether this is "worth it." That is, am I getting more benefit than I would from a fifteen-mile ride?

I initially titled this "Is Really Tough Exercise Good for You?" but I realized that the most important thing, for me, is to feel better (less tired and old) in general.

What do you think?
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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Yes.

I couldn't possibly ride a bike for 50 miles like you, but if I do an unusually demanding workout (for me), I feel at least ten years younger and it puts a bounce in my walk. Usually after a workout like that, I wouldn't do another demanding workout in the next few days. I would do a relatively mild workout instead, until I have recovered. This is how I felt after I lifted weights that added up to 27.1 tons, in 40 minutes, in June 2014 (the highest amount I have ever lifted). I had worked up to it gradually and was lifting around 18-20 tons most workouts for a few weeks prior.

If I really majorly over-do, then it doesn't work like that. I hurt a lot, can't sleep, and can't work out at all for at least a week, and I feel old and decrepit. I *could* lift a lot more than 27.1 tons (maybe 40-45 tons?) in 40 minutes without working up to it at all, but my body would punish me seriously for that.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:44 AM   #3
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If I really majorly over-do, then it doesn't work like that. I hurt a lot, can't sleep, and can't work out for at least a week, and I feel old and decrepit.
This indicates to me that the answer is actually no, that the 50 mile ride is a "major over-do" and T-Al needs to dial back his distance - maybe not to 15 miles but something 40 or less.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:46 AM   #4
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I think there is a large variety in how people react to vigorous exercise and this variance gets larger as we age. I would listen to your body carefully and perhaps keep a journal.

I found I get the same benefit of lifting heavy weights about five minutes a day (30 minutes/week) as I do lifting for 45 minutes, three times a week. Many exercise nuts look at me as if I were retarded just for suggesting such a concept. But I exercise for health and to feel good, not to satisfy some time requirement that perhaps is best for the majority.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:47 AM   #5
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This indicates to me that the answer is actually no, that the 50 mile ride is a "major over-do" and T-Al needs to dial back his distance - maybe not to 15 miles but something 40 or less.
That is what I am thinking. If he gradually works up to where he's riding 35-40 miles several times a week with no problems and that has become his usual routine, then he could go all out and do 50 miles. But not if he is just riding 10-15 miles several times a week.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:49 AM   #6
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It mighht allow you to sleep better? But if you find yourself noticing the after effects often on the next day, it seems the exercise might have been too extreme. The caveat would be if you're making progress training. In other words, going from no after effects after 10 miles, a few weeks later, no after effects after 15 miles, etc. Presumably this wouldn't go on forever, just until you got to where you wanted to be, or until you hit the wall and couldn't make progress any more.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:30 AM   #8
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I think that mixing up what you do and keeping your muscles guessing from different forms of exercise and intensities maybe the way to go vs always going all out. YMMV, and as someone else said, listen to your body, as if you get hurt you may not be doing any form of exercise for a while.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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I've experience the same thing when doing some extra long bike rides, I was pretty much spent and didn't have the energy to do anything after the ride. I found that paying more attention to proper nutrition (before, during, and after) made a difference. I never have a problem staying hydrated during a ride but almost have to force myself to eat something. It's important to have some carbs frequently during and immediately after the ride.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:42 AM   #10
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This indicates to me that the answer is actually no, that the 50 mile ride is a "major over-do" and T-Al needs to dial back his distance - maybe not to 15 miles but something 40 or less.
I agree. In my case (age 67) a longer run is about 30% more then my standard workout. Also the terrain, not just the mileage, is another factor to consider.

Why take the risks of:
1) An overuse injury
2) A major health "event" due to perhaps an unknown bodily weakness
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #11
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I feel fine after a longer than normal bike ride, and usually feel great the next day. I bike a lot, though much of it is just running errands, so not necessarily long distance rides. Still, I biked over 1,300 miles during the first 6 months of this year, but never more than 50 miles on any day. I also go on bike trips. I've noticed that as long as I ride at least 30 miles on any one day during the 2 weeks or so preceding a trip, I'll feel fine riding a much longer distance even on the first day of a bike trip, even though I'll be carrying full panniers on the trip, which require a much greater pedaling effort.

A few years ago, I ended up riding 85 miles on the first day of a trip, which is longer than I like to ride, and which turned out to be the longest day's ride on the entire trip. I was certainly tired during the last 20 miles of the ride, but I wouldn't describe the feeling as "torture". I felt fine afterwards, as well as while riding the next day.

I'm curious, TromboneAl, how long it had been prior to the 50 mile ride that you had biked at least 25 miles in a day?
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:21 PM   #12
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I think that mixing up what you do and keeping your muscles guessing from different forms of exercise and intensities maybe the way to go vs always going all out. YMMV, and as someone else said, listen to your body, as if you get hurt you may not be doing any form of exercise for a while.
That makes sense to me - use different muscle groups, do different things. But I can't quote sources or anything, just a gut, common-sense feel.

I've also read recently that short all-out bursts are good, and don't take so much time. Again, I can't quote sources, but if I was doing things that left me beat for two days, I'd consider that over-doing it, and it might be more harm than good.

I know T-Al doesn't want to hear this, but I'll also throw in the whole issue of bicycle safety. I don't want to do a single mile of riding a bike on a road shared with traffic, let alone 15, 40, or 50 at a time. Just the other day, I saw a bike rider about 500 feet in front of me tumble right in traffic. I wasn't close enough to see exactly what happened, I was watching the cars alongside me, but I think he may have caught the bumper of the car in front of him. Almost looked like he tumbled head-over-heels.

I almost got sick right there and then, I thought he might be dead. But he got up and got to the side of the road and seemed to be talking to people OK. I had pulled over to help, but there were enough people there by then that I just moved on.

Overall, I really question if this is good for your health at all. And you know from personal experience this isn't a theoretical.

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Does Really Tough Exercise Make You Feel Younger?
Old 07-04-2015, 12:33 PM   #13
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Does Really Tough Exercise Make You Feel Younger?

Everyones body is different and the aging process varies from individual to individual. But after fighting it, I learned to dial it back. In fact I push back less than ever. But that is because of my knees and back cant handle the overload. I feel a lot better now that I have learned to follow Clint's advise... "A man has got to know his limitations."


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Old 07-04-2015, 01:08 PM   #14
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I think that mixing up what you do and keeping your muscles guessing from different forms of exercise and intensities maybe the way to go vs always going all out. YMMV, and as someone else said, listen to your body, as if you get hurt you may not be doing any form of exercise for a while.
I am a big fan of informal periodization ‘training’.
A good analogy would be to mountain climbing, where you make bite-sized (say 10%) gains from a series of higher bases after allowing for a comfortable recovery period at each step. This avoids the perils of GAS (general adaption syndrome) e.g. - keeping the workout from becoming a daily grind. I get a very pleasant buzz lasting a day or two after pushing into the rarefied air off an upper base. Yes, I think it is healthy for me, and makes me feel younger. Others may experience a similar effect from meditation, walking or yoga, to each their own. I need the high intensity.
P.S. Oh, I forgot to add a little levity - I like walking, but am resistant to ohmming, and yoga gives me blissters.
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Old 07-04-2015, 02:01 PM   #15
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I exercise a lot. My phone app says I average about 3 hours a day. But I do not go out and kill myself. I am happy to think, "I could do that if I wanted." About the hardest I work is to run a 5K in minutes at faster than half my age in years. That can be challenging for some folks, but for some runners, they might say, "So what?" Anyway, it's over quickly and that's all I care about.

Here is a related NYTimes blog article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/0...ng-fitness-age with a link to calculate your "age".

I like the writings of Gretchen Reynolds. She compiled some of her earlier writings into a book: The First 20 Minutes which may interest you. Her blog is more about translating physiology and exercise scientific articles into something that everyone can understand. Not all of it is legit, but most of it is.

"yoga gives me blisters" … I'm going to have to use that one. Thanks!
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Old 07-04-2015, 03:12 PM   #16
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Endorphins may play a role here.
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Old 07-04-2015, 03:12 PM   #17
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I never found any form of extreme workout to be "worth it" except to the extent when in the Army some extremes were necessary to achive a particular end. They were brutal at times but it was a means to an end and never to be repeated. The muscle memory of them still remains and is available at any time without having to consult any memory banks. In that respect it was "woth it" for life.

IMHO any form of training/workout/call it what you want, after which I don't feel mentally and physically elated/elevated/great is worhtless. I have come that conclusion around age 25. Now at closer 68 it is even more evident.

For example, after an hour or two of varied tempo/speed of kayaking I feel great. An hour of ju-jutsu practice leaves me in a good spirits and elevated mood. Or, an hour or two of figure skating is truly splendid, combines physical workout with art, creativity and a few falls, yet all is good fun.

One of these days I'll take up dancing for a spare and more variety.
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Old 07-04-2015, 03:56 PM   #18
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Given that I don't know how I would feel if I did not do some type of activity I will say yes.
Having been involved in sports through high school and college I continued by doing traditional strength training and then started playing ice hockey some 20 years ago.

As many of you here know exercise plays a huge role in brain health, when there is no physical activity the brain cells offload (die).
Having a healthy brain and feeling/acting younger are correlated- so it makes sense that doing a little exercise is important.


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Old 07-04-2015, 04:16 PM   #19
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I'm curious, TromboneAl, how long it had been prior to the 50 mile ride that you had biked at least 25 miles in a day?


And here's last June:



So, even if I've been doing it regularly, it really seems to beat me up (the "I'm too old for this" feeling).

I have to admit, though, that I felt good after Thursday's ride and the next two days.
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Old 07-04-2015, 04:18 PM   #20
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I believe exercise does make you feel younger, but you can still overdo it and encounter diminishing returns. When I am working out consistently I do feel better and have more energy. For example, I worked out for about 90 minutes this morning (weights and aerobic exercises) and that has given me alertness and energy for a lot of other activities and I am actually only my way for a quick 9 holes of golf, walking the course. But I if I overdo it, or if I fall out of a consistent pattern and them jump back into it, it will wipe me out. So at my age (57) it is all about finding that happy medium.
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