Tag Archives: cycling

Can exercise lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease?

Getting regular exercise such as cycling, walking, gardening, cleaning and participating in sports may decrease the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to new research published in the May 17, 2023, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found female participants who exercised the most had a 25% lower rate of Parkinson’s disease when compared to those who exercised the least. The study does not prove that exercise lowers the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. It only shows an association.

Photo by Solare Flares on Pexels.com

“Exercise is a low-cost way to improve health overall, so our study sought to determine if it may be linked to a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating disease that has no cure,” said study author Alexis Elbaz, MD, PhD, of the Inserm Research Center in Paris, France. “Our results provide evidence for planning interventions to prevent Parkinson’s disease.”

The study included 95,354 female participants, mostly teachers, with an average age of 49 who did not have Parkinson’s disease at the start of the study. Researchers followed participants for three decades during which 1,074 participants developed Parkinson’s disease.

Over the course of the study, participants completed up to six questionnaires about the types and amounts of physical activity they were getting. They were asked how far they walked and how many flights of stairs they climbed daily, how many hours they spent on household activities as well as how much time they spent doing moderate recreational activities such as gardening and more vigorous activities such as sports.

Researchers assigned each activity a score based on the metabolic equivalent of a task (METs), a way to quantify energy expenditure. For each activity, METs were multiplied by their frequency and duration to obtain a physical activity score of METs-hours per week. For example, a more intense form of exercise like cycling was six METs, while less intense forms of exercise such as walking and cleaning were three METs. The average physical activity level for participants was 45 METs-hours per week at the start of the study.


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Keeping active in middle age may be tied to lower risk of dementia – Study

In the more than 10 years of writing this blog I have come to believe that use it or lose it is an unassailable law of the body. And what applies to the body often carries over to the brain. As I have mentioned previously, my family has dementia in general and Alzheimer’s in particular on both sides, so keeping a clear head really resonates with me.

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My dog and me out for a ride. I am a little past middle age in the picture, but you get the idea.

Keeping physically and mentally active in middle age may be tied to a lower risk of developing dementia decades later, according to a study published in the medical journal Neurology. Mental activities included reading, playing instruments, singing in a choir, visiting concerts, gardening, doing needlework or attending religious services.

“These results indicate that these activities in middle age may play a role in preventing dementia in old age and preserving cognitive health,” said study author Jenna Najar, MD, from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

“It’s exciting as these are activities that people can incorporate into their lives pretty easily and without a lot of expense.” Continue reading


Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, dementia, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits

Fitness over 50: Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard

I remember 20 years ago when I was in the working world, I definitely lived a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours at the office, a child at home and all the aspects of family life made it difficult for me to exercise a lot. Vedging out in the evening in front of the TV proved a welcome relief from daily demands. In addition, my motivation was elsewhere. Now that I am retired that has all changed, but I understand if you may be where I was back then.


Here I am riding with Gabi. Cycling is a super form of exercise for both mind and body.

Blame it on a job change, a chronic health issue, or simply a loss of motivation: whatever took you away from your regular exercise routine has led to a sedentary lifestyle. But don’t assume you can jump back into the same exercise regimen you followed when you were younger. “Your body has aged, and things have changed,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What’s different

Age-related physical changes aren’t always obvious. “We lose muscle mass and strength as we get older, and the muscles become less flexible and less hydrated,” says Dr. Safran-Norton. Arthritis weakens joints. And vision changes, neurological disease, joint pain, or problems inside the ear can throw off your balance. Continue reading


Filed under aging, bicycle riding, cycling, fitness, fitness facts, men's fitness, successful aging, walking, women's fitness

Some Good Leg Stretches for Cyclists

Here is a post I wrote a while back for another blog I do. Thought you cyclists and/or runners might be interested.



Willing Wheeling

I ride my bicycle nearly every day here in Chicago. Last year I averaged just over 17 miles per day for a total of 6350 miles. So far this  year, I am over 7500 miles in the first week of December.

In a four season city like Chicago, I am not always able to ride at all, so I end up with some longer rides to compensate.

As every rider knows, your legs can get stiff after a while.  I have found three wonderful stretches that do a super job of rejuvenating my legs. I usually do them after ten miles or so. That way the muscles are warmed up and I have good circulation.

There are pictures of each stretch, but I want to explain how I do them as that makes a difference. I do yoga for years and when I stretch, I always do the diaphragmatic breathing…

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Bike love ❤️

I just ran across these in my web wanderings and wanted to share them. If you ride a bike you get it. If you don’t, maybe you should consider it.







Maybe this is actually a yoga picture, or gymnastic shot more than a bike one, but I loved it.




Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, regular bike riding

Harvard on resuming bike riding

This seems particularly timely as I wrote about my own cycling – Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront on Chicago’s Lakefront yesterday.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.


“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, cardio exercise, cycling, regular bike riding, safe biking, Weight

Fitness Fun

I am looking out my window at a glorious sunny May Sunday morning. I hope you have a similar situation. Thought you might enjoy these:










Filed under fitness, Uncategorized

Favorite Facts About Bicycling – Infographics

As regular readers know I ride my bike pretty much daily here in Chicago. So I enjoy pics of bikes. Herewith some of my collection:

I love these interesting and very positive facts about biking.

I love these interesting and very positive facts about biking.

Besides being fact-filled, I thought this one looked like a lot of fun.4754fe710cfdefe202370ca75b586147215143a0dbde486798fed8686bf06533-1

Nothing more to say.

Nothing more to say.

Last and not least, enjoy this lovely three minute film by fashion designer Phillip Lim – Girls on Bikes:



Filed under biking, Exercise, infographic

A Cold Weather Exercise Tip

Because I ride my bike almost daily here in Chicago, a four season city, I have a lot of experience with exercising out in the cold. Nonetheless, I had an experience today in 35F degree weather that was actually startling. Although I was riding my bike, I think what happened to me could happen to anyone whether running, cross country skiing, or anything else out of doors.

In order to exercise outside in most weather, I keep notes on what I wear in various combinations of temperature, humidity, wind, sunshine, rain.

Is he going to ride outdoors or rob the bank of Alaska?

Is he going to ride outdoors or rob the bank of Alaska?

The temperature reading I got this morning was 25F. This calls for two pair of long johns, wool sox, four layers on top, covered by a vented windbreaker. On my hands I wear thinsulate-lined convertible glove mitts. One of the basic principles is that you expose as little bare flesh as possible.

I had to walk the dog and fix breakfast before I got out on the bike. By the time I did, the temperature had risen to 35F on my cycling computer and there was a good sun. I was feeling really good after about 40 minutes and decided that I would prefer to wear my thin gloves with the fingerless cycling gloves on top. They are more comfortable on the bike with their thicker palm padding. So I stopped the bike and put away the glove mitts and switched to the thinner ones.

After about five minutes of riding I detected the cold air the gloves and chilling my fingers. This had not been the case with the glove mitts. I made a mental note that this combination of thin gloves and cycling gloves was not appropriate for 35F degree weather. But, I didn’t stop and switch back. I continued riding.

Here’s where the discovery took place. After about 20 more minutes of riding, my hands had grown chilled – to the point where it felt uncomfortable. In another five to 10 minutes, I could feel that not only my fingers and hands were chilled, but my wrists and forearms had begun to feel cold, too. As I rode now, I was getting the impression that I was too cold to continue even though I had been out close to an hour already in relative comfort.

I stopped the bike and switched back to the warm glove mitts. Here’s the part that amazed me. My fingers and hands responded immediately to the new protection and felt comfortable. In another five minutes my arms had warmed up and I was no longer feeling cold and had no desire to cut the ride any more.

Previously I had known that I needed all my skin areas to be covered up or the air would make me cold, but in this instance, the skin on my hands remained covered, just not as much as previously. Apparently that was enough to signal my body that I needed more protection.

So, my conclusion is that you need to be aware that you are covered and adequately covered. When I changed gloves the first time, my fingers and hands remained covered, but they were not protected fully from the cold. The interesting thing is that I use the cycling glove combo regularly for temps in the 40s F and they work perfectly.

I hope this was of some use to you in getting outside exercise in the winter. Please feel free to share any tips you may have discovered on your outside road to good health. I am convinced that dressing correctly for cold weather outside activities is as much art as science.

If you want to read more on exercising outside in cold weather check out:
Cold weather exercise tips and Cold weather cycling tips.

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Filed under biking, cold weather, Exercise

Cycling Pros Have Increased Risks to Osteoporosis

Incredible as it may seem to you, at least it did to me, professional bicycle riders have an increased risk to Osteopenia and Osteoporosis.

How can that be when they spend their lives engaging in one of the top cardiovascular activities in existence? Surely they are among the most fit athletes on the planet.

Despite the energy burned and muscles used in bicycle racing, it does not protect against osteoporosis

Pam Whitfield, MS, RD, LDN CDE of Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group Speaking at a Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program ® gathering today, said that the cyclists needed to include weight-bearing exercise in their workouts. Cycling is great cardio exercise, but there is no weight-bearing involved, hence no protection for the bones.

Because of this risk, Ms Whitfield said that professional cyclists were now including weight work into their exercise regimes to protect themselves.

As an active if unprofessional cyclist, I plan to increase my weight-bearing exercise, too. The good news is that walking is an excellent weight-bearing exercise.

To read further on osteoporosis and men, check out my posts:

How Vulnerable Are Men to Osteoporosis?
What Can I Do To Prevent Osteoporosis?
What Foods Fight Osteoporosis?



Filed under osteopenia, osteoporosis