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Progress Report on Our Training Program

Several of you have asked about our training progress since I retired from my radio show and full-time medical practice. Diana and I are a 66-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man who want to ride a tandem bicycle faster than any one else in our age group. We know that training for sports requires stressing and recovering. On one day, we take a hard workout in which we ride as fast as we can, feel sore the next morning, and then go slow for as many days as it takes for the soreness to leave our muscles.

Since we often go to rallies on weekends, we usually ride very fast on Saturday and Sunday. I feel so sore on Monday that I take the day off, and then go slowly for the next four days because it takes that long for my muscles to recover. So we are doing two hard days, followed by a day off, then four recovery days and repeat the cycle. I must tell you that training depends on how you feel, so our schedules vary from week to week, depending on how sore or tired we are. There are days when we plan to ride hard, but have to take an extra easy day or even a day off, or we can expect to become injured.

It took many years for us to get up to schedule we do now. Diana had never exercised hard until she was in her late forties, so she has built up gradually over the last 17 years. She has never had a wear-and-tear injury from riding too much, but she has had three serious injuries from crashes. On the other hand, I have spent my lifetime trying to exercise hard all the time and have paid with repeated, persistent wear-and-tear injuries. Until recently, I just refused to take days off.

Last Saturday we raced 62 miles over a hilly course almost as fast as we could, holding back a little because we knew that we had to ride fast the next day also. On Sunday we raced 45 miles. On Monday, my legs were so sore that I took the day off. On Tuesday, my legs were still sore so we rode 20 slow miles. On Wednesday, my legs were still tired so we rode 43 miles, mostly easy with slight pickups when other riders came along. On Thursday, we rode 38 miles and on Friday, 46 miles. That amounts to 253 miles for the week with one day off. We are doing so many miles now that I try to stay off my feet when I'm not riding, because I know that walking and standing delay muscle recovery from hard exercise. We have several wonderful cycling trips planned this summer and will post some pictures soon.



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Dear Dr. Mirkin: How could where you live affect how long you live?

According to a new National Geographic book, The Blue Zones, people live longer in the Barbagia region of Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California (a community of Seventh-Day Adventists); and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. The lessons drawn from these cultures are the same as those I've preached to you for the last thirty years: eat more vegetables, exercise, minimize stress, don't be overweight, and avoid smoking. Your odds also increase if you are married, live in a rural area and are a woman.

In this 1960's, people in the Georgian Republic in Russia, Abkhazians in Pakistan and the Vilcabambas in Ecuador were reported to live long lives, but it turned out that they were among the world's greatest liars, rather than the world's oldest people. The centenarians cited in The Blue Zone have documented birth certificates.

A new study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine (March 2008) found that people who exercise regularly live 12 years longer than non-exercisers, no matter where they live.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will exercising in the evening keep me awake at night?

Many fitness instructors give bad advice when they tell you not to exercise within three hours before going to sleep, because several studies show that exercise does not interfere with sleep. One study from the University of California at San Diego showed that three hours of vigorous pedaling at 70 percent of maximum oxygen uptake in very bright lights did not stop fit men from falling or staying asleep.

The old argument was that vigorous exercise causes your body to produce large amounts of its own stimulants, adrenalin and nor adrenalin, that make your heart beat rapidly, raise body temperature and prevent you from feeling tired. Newer studies show this doesn't happen. Exercise whenever it's convenient for you, even if it's just before you go to bed.


Recipe of the Week

Cajun Lentils with Zucchini

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 25th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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