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Get on your bike!

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It’s time to get those wheels out. Here’s a new study that substantiates the benefits of cycling. According to the University of Birmingham, cycling boosts the immune system, preserves muscle mass and strength, maintains stable levels of body fat and cholesterol, and keeps testosterone levels high. For their research, the team compared 125 amateur cyclists between the ages of 55 and 79 to 130 healthy adults from two age groups (75 people aged 57 to 80 and 55 people aged 20 to 36) who did not exercise regularly. The male cyclists in the study had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to cover 60 km in 5.5 hours. “Our findings debunk the assumption that ageing automatically makes us more frail,” writes study leader Janet Lord in journal Ageing Cell. “Our research means we now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer but not healthier.” Added to this are the proven mental health benefits of cycling and the eco-friendly nature of the activity—another British study estimates that if the country were to reach government targets for walking and cycling, it would save about £ 9.3 billion and reduce deaths from air pollution by more than 13,000 over the next decade. Pedal on!

Photo: iStock
Featured in Harmony — Celebrate Age Magazine
April 2018