Every year, followers of the Tour are tempted into joining a cycling club or encouraging their favorite athlete while joining their own peloton on a spinning bike. Indeed, the Tour de France serves as a huge motivation for many people to get back to their bikes and get fit. And perhaps, it’s what pushed Frenchman Robert Marchands to hop on the bike. You won’t find any mention of Marchand in the Tour.
Born in 1911, Marchand moved to Venezuela after World War II, where he worked as a lorry driver and a sugarcane planter. In the 1950s, he moved to Canada and worked as a lumberjack before heading back to France where he worked as a gardener and wine dealer until his retirement in 1987. Marchand returned to cycling shortly before retiring. What makes him remarkable is that, in 2012, aged 100, he set a world record on his bike. In 2014, he improved his record. In October 2018, the then 106-year-old cyclist hopped back in the saddle, proving that age is meaningless to him. As Marchand put it himself after cycling around the track, “the day you just sit in your armchair and stop moving, you’re screwed.” And in his small Marchand is putting a twist on the matter of age; are we ever too old to do what we want?
Fitness is not limited to 20-year-old kids
As you grow older, your body becomes used to a sedentary lifestyle with little exercise. Unfortunately, physical inactivity is not the best way to stay healthy in old age. In fact, people who indulge in a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to develop health disorders and complications over time. Indeed, staying active as a senior is essential to maintain your health, as Robert Marchand proves. Regular activity can keep your joints lubricated, which reduces the risk of stiffness and arthritis. Additionally, exercise keeps your heart pumping, which, when done within reason, avoids many cardiovascular dangers. The lesson, as pointed it by Marchand, is that you can’t afford to sit in your armchair and stop moving if you want to stay healthy for longer.
But I’m worried about pain
Even if you look after yourself, there is no denying that your body can develop weaknesses that didn’t exist before. However, you shouldn’t let your fear of pain or injury keep you away from a fitness routine. There are many options available to stay fit without taking any risk. First of all, your local gym club has a variety of machines, including dedicated equipment that is designed to help people with limited mobility. In other words, whether you’re struggling with hip pain or a busted knee, you can find a solution to keep your heart rate up without causing any injury.
I don’t know anybody
Fitness is only one of your age concerns. Age can sometimes feel like opening a can of worms, as it seems to be in your way of doing all the things you would typically enjoy. Not only do you feel too old to work out, but you also worry that you can’t find anybody who understands your situation. In the US, more than a third of seniors suffer from loneliness, saying that the lack of companionship keeps them from doing or trying anything new.
Isolation, unfortunately, affects your health – mental and physical – creating more isolation as a result. But the truth is that loneliness is not a fatality. It can seem difficult to meet people your age, but you can try your local senior activity center to find like-minded people. Making friends can not only keep loneliness at bay but also encourage you to try out new activities and discover new things. Besides, there’s no age to share a joke with friends!
It is amazing how many social clubs there are if you take some time to seek them out. The Internet is your friend here, so use Google search to find organisations and societies that may be able to help you out, use sites such as Meetup to find local groups. Many people run active groups, such a walking clubs, cycling groups, group exercise classes and day trips, all of which increase your activity levels.
How do I meet people outside of my community center?
One crucial but yet too easily overlooked question: If age doesn’t matter, can you have an age gap with your friends? There is no rule to friendship, and you shouldn’t forbid yourself to meet people outside of a senior club. The world is full of exciting individuals who might share common values and interests with you. While there is nothing wrong with friends of the same age, introducing variety keeps you mentally, emotionally, and physically engaged. There’s just one problem, where do you find those new friends? One rule to remember: Stay away from bars. Instead, join events that are meaningful to you.
Your mind is your worst enemy
The worst prison human beings can build for themselves is their mind. It is also your best ally, if you understand how to make the most of it. When you hit a new milestone, the candles can become almost as expensive as the cake. More importantly, with each new milestone, there’s a voice at the back of your mind that keeps telling you how old you’ve become. The more you focus on your inner voice, the more uncomfortable you feel, and the more likely you are to isolate yourself. But staying alone and away from people doesn’t make you any younger. Instead, you should open up about out you feel to a trusted friend.
Can you stop getting old?
From anti-wrinkle creams to hair dye, we try everything we can to stop being old. Even though everybody knows that aging is inevitable, we all wish we could stop the clock for a moment, or at least, not let anybody else see the aging process. However, did you know that you could actively reverse time? Admittedly, you can’t wake up in the body of the 20-year-old in the morning, but there are some tips you can use. According to a study of over 4,600 middle-aged women, scientists found that women who followed a Mediterranean diet could slow down aging and extend lifespan. Additionally, the Institute for Aging at Newcastle University, UK, has discovered that by removing the mitochondria – or powerhouse – in aging cells can trigger a rejuvenation process.
You can stop feeling old
Lastly, how you feel is how you become. Indeed, if you feel old, it’s likely that your brain is aging and therefore experiencing slow cognitive processes. Researchers have used MRI brain scans to compare results between elderly people who feel old and those who think they are a day older than 20. They found that the brain shows fewer signs of aging for the seniors who still feel young. In other words, now’s the time to finally tell yourself that you are young and to believe it.
Robert Marchand is a man who doesn’t believe in age. The now 107-year-old cyclist has never let his age define his life, and as such, he’s become one of the youngest centenarians you’ll ever get to meet. Maybe, the secret of not getting old is to forget your age and get on with being active, making friends, and enjoying life to the fullest.
The key to living a longer, healthier and happier life really is to stay active and eat healthy. While not everybody is lucky enough to avoid medical conditions and disease, those who do can often live full and active lives.