“Young at heart”, most of us think it but perhaps we don’t always feel it. As inevitable as day turns to night, we are all getting older by the day. For the serious endurance athlete holding off the ageing process as we ascend into our elder years is critical to maintaining performance levels.
While the actual mechanisms of the ageing process are still largely unknown it would appear that stem cells play a big part in it.
A study detailed in the European journal EMBO Molecular Medicine found that younger muscle tissues had as much as four times more regenerative stem cells compared to old muscle.
“Our study shows that the ability of old human muscle to be maintained and repaired by muscle stem cells can be restored to youthful vigor given the right mix of biochemical signals”. The biochemical signals come namely in the form of strength training and appropriate nutrition.
Personally I found that with the correct post training nutrition my body recovered better. In our younger days we could get away with skipping the odd post training or event meal replacing it with a Big Mac and fries. Now I need my Quick fix of simple sugars followed by complex carbs and protein. Magic
In a previous blog post about strength training we discussed a framework by which to structure the addition of strength training into your training regime. Nothing differs too much in the general principals of strength training for the ageing endurance athlete apart from managing training loads and starting with the appropriate intensities and volumes. I would suggest consulting with a personal trainer or similar exercise professional if you are new to the strength training game.
Lack of time and other responsibilities can easily cut into our training windows but they don’t need to be excuses for not including strength training in your programme. Using strategies like supersets, multi joint exercises ie squat press, lunge rotate and combining your key exercises into a circuit with no rest periods are all great ways to maximize your time and effort. In fact you can easily fit an effective workout into 20 minutes if needs be.
Don’t get carried away on doing strength and endurance sets, as cyclists we do so much of this out on the road.
So go on and get to it, get lifting and get younger at heart and body!!