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does motorcycle riding delay aging?


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As I close in on my sunset years, I am becoming increasingly aware of changes in me both mentally and physically. I don't see as well at night, my muscles ache and my mental alertness seems slower than when I was a 25 year old.

It occurred to me that riding a motorcycle requires intensive mental alertness and cognitive abilities. All four extremities must be used independently and riding safely requires constant divided attention skills from potential traffic threats, roadway surface hazards and neuro-motor-muscular-inner ear coordination that are unique to operating a two-wheel vehicle.

The contrast is especially apparent when I drive a car. Most cars are like driving a stuffed sofa in your living room. Driving a car is like watching the grass grow compared to the thought and skill processes involved in motorcycling.

After riding a motorcycle for four hours, I feel both invigorated and exhausted. I can still continue on after four hours in a car.

I have always believed that retiring and becoming sedentary in front of your mind-numbing TV set is the fast track towards your eventual demise.

I would like to think motorcycling somehow delays the inevitable by keeping your mental and cognitive skills sharp and alert. As in all things we are taught, you lose it if you don't use it.

Does the mental and physical activity involved in motorcycle operation force you to use potentially dormant or stagnant areas of your neurological system? If so, does this delay the onset of our mental aging? Are some of us riding a motorcycle because it offers a connection with our youth? Or does motorcycle riding offer us a denial of our aging?

The day I can no longer physically or mentally operate a motorcycle will be the first day of my ultimate destination.

 

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I definitely think it's one of several thinks we can do to keep fit and our senses sharp. All of us will have to cross that road at some point or another.

 

My plan is to keep fit and weight under control, and to stay busy well after retirement (which I may not be able to do until age 100 anyway the way the economy is going) and to keep riding as long as I possibly can.

 

I'll meet you on a ride, not at the shuffleboard court.

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I would say it definitely delays mental aging. Not just the thinking, but needing to use quick reactions, planning a trip, consider developments like a storm on your planned direction, etc. It is a great incentive to stay in shape. My last two damaging accidents, a torn knee tendon and recently a broken tibia, were not riding accidents. I'm sure that without the obsession to keep riding my intensity of getting back would have been much less. Obviously physical ageing is happening. I walk less well. Climbing stairs is slow. Carrying heavy stuff is a problem. The best part is that riding the bike is about the only time I don't feel ancient. Everything still works sufficiently well to enjoy the ride.

 

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Bob,

I got back into riding 4 years ago at age 58. I am now 62, and starting to really feel many of the things you mentioned--night vision, aches, stamina, and sense of balance. Since I am not yet retired, I usually ride on weekends only, and I find my skills diminish much more rapidly, the longer the time between rides. When Curb Queen and I went to Oregon for a 5-day vacation ride in September, it took me 2-3 days of riding to really start feeling "with it" again. When I returned I was much more tuned in to riding. But after a week back at work, down in the doldrums again.

 

The good news--in 3 months I am retiring. I will be able to head out on the RT whenever I feel like it. Pick the nicest days and just go. I am hoping that a fairly steady diet of riding will help to keep the senses sharpened and the energy levels up. I'm sure gonna try. And I recommend you do too! :thumbsup:

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The last time I took a really long trip, a friend offered to loan me his GPS. I declined. Early in the trip, I had to pull maps out frequently; after a few minutes, I just couldn't remember what came next. 8000 miles, and a month later, my short term recall was noticeably better. I attribute this in part to a great reduction in computer usage (who has to remember anything, when you can google it?).

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louisvillebob

Let me brag about my 82 year old dad. In July, we rode our airhead RTs from KY to WY and back, round trip about 2800 miles, for the BMW rally. He did great. He rides frequently, does all his own maintenance on the bike, and choses to continue to work 4 days a week. Use it or lose it.

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As you get older your reflexes do slow down a bit. When a pretty blonde passes by you just smile, not slobber and drool like when you were young!

 

Really, night riding becomes less satisfying, you look on the other traffic much more closely,you ride a bit more conservetivly, less busting into the triple digit range.

 

But then with things a bit slower you appreciate the scenery much more, you listen to the wind and what your bike has to say. You begin to reall enjoy life on the road, wondering how much longer you will be able to ride.

 

And then you laugh at all the kids of 60 or so worrying about getting old thinking about the same things. At their young age???

 

Thats how I see it at 81.

 

Bob

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As you get older your reflexes do slow down a bit. When a pretty blonde passes by you just smile, not slobber and drool like when you were young!

 

Really, night riding becomes less satisfying, you look on the other traffic much more closely,you ride a bit more conservetivly, less busting into the triple digit range.

 

But then with things a bit slower you appreciate the scenery much more, you listen to the wind and what your bike has to say. You begin to reall enjoy life on the road, wondering how much longer you will be able to ride.

 

And then you laugh at all the kids of 60 or so worrying about getting old thinking about the same things. At their young age???

 

Thats how I see it at 81.

 

Bob

 

 

I hope I can write the same stuff in 20 years! About those 60+ kids. Dang, I just need to shut up and go ride. :dopeslap:

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I am only 45 and think a lot about this! I have found that riding an old 10 speed bicycle helps as training to keep alert and also in good physical condition. But, mostly, after riding a bicycle, with the little seat, low handlebars, makes the RT feel like a Lazyboy!!! Also, I stopped riding with the squids on sportbikes, I don't ride much at night, I don't ride in the rain, and I avoid heavy rush our traffic. I guess I am just trying to work with the aging process to try to keep alive and ride rather than fight it and let testosterone and ego be my guide and get me into trouble!!

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Nice n Easy Rider

One of the reasons I decided to begin riding again last year (after a 15 year hiatus) was that I felt my cage driving was becoming too complacent. I always felt that I had been a much better defensive driver when on my bike than I was currently in my car. I also missed riding more and more as I got older. So I went down and took an accompanied test ride (I'm sure they were concerned about that 15 year hiatus) and that sold me (in spite of my nervousness) on getting back on a bike.

 

Although I'm still continuing to get more and more comfortable with every mile I ride I've also picked up a lot of tips on safety and handling on this forum that have been very helpful. One of the things that has really been reinforced to me from members posting some of their unfortunate experiences is that you can never be too careful.

 

It's really great to be back.

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Important is that someone is not going to prove his subjective age by taking unnecessary risks. Equally important is that you maintain your experience. I ride every day. After a holiday (European holiday you know: three weeks at least..) the 1st ride "feels" differently.

 

Nevertheless, bicycling seemt to be even more effective...

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Great thread! :thumbsup:

 

I'm currently roaming through my 50's and have wondered these very same things myself, especially in the last year or so.

 

I'm still a few years shy of retirement, but I have every intention of continuing to ride long after that day comes.

 

I ride my Multistrada to work nearly every day, through pretty heavy city traffic, and I think that alone helps to keep my senses sharp.

 

Weekend rides are much more relaxed by comparison due to a lot less traffic, and, I'm usually on my RT.

 

I would have to believe that riding a motorcycle, especially riding that is challenging, must be good for your head.

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Commuting each day on my motorcyle does keep me sharper than if I didn't. My coordination and reflexes are better, and my mental attitude is better also. I am almost 61 and retire at the end of next year to take my retirement ride across the western US to see all of my old friends and riding partners and am trying everything I can to keep my mind clear and reflexes sharp. Riding helps do that along with exercise; mind games and trying to match wits with my Wife.

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Does the mental and physical activity involved in motorcycle operation force you to use potentially dormant or stagnant areas of your neurological system? If so, does this delay the onset of our mental aging? Are some of us riding a motorcycle because it offers a connection with our youth? Or does motorcycle riding offer us a denial of our aging?

.

 

Didn't seem to work for Fernando :grin:

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We need more personal maintenance and upkeep to keep all our own systems in top shape. Appropriate supplements, meds, sleep, exercise and annual check-ups.

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I ride with a group of guys where I used to be the youngest at 59. Now at 61, and with our oldest rider at 82, we ride the Hill Country at a very 'brisk' pace and I can say that it does keep us all pretty sharp. I also ride the bike to my occasional part-time job which can be anywhere from 5 to 40 miles away from the house and generally on some great roads.

 

I get up anticipating the ride to work and come back at the end of the day feeling invigorated. I'll just keep anticipating the next ride. You must remember though, I'm a cancer survivor so I just take every day as it comes and I worry not about the day after :thumbsup:.

 

Life is grand... :clap:

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Does the mental and physical activity involved in motorcycle operation force you to use potentially dormant or stagnant areas of your neurological system? If so, does this delay the onset of our mental aging? Are some of us riding a motorcycle because it offers a connection with our youth? Or does motorcycle riding offer us a denial of our aging?

.

 

Didn't seem to work for Fernando :grin:

 

Huh?...wha? who? Did someone call me? Oh. Never mind. Someone wake me for dinner. Hmmmph.

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Remember putting playing cards or a balloon in the spokes of your bicycle as a kid? In the winter I would run around the house pretending I was a downhiller in the winter olympics. Today I own an RT and soon will be starting the ski racing season. My body tells me that the parts are wearing out but my brain still makes me want those feelings of excitement!

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Great thread! I hope to ride when I am 81!! Right now I am 46 going on 16! :grin:

I think that riding helps keping you younger in spirit at least. Physically I don't know though, picking up a GS gets 'old' after a while... :D

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I vote for "Delays Aging". I mostly base that on what I see in other people my own age. Most don't take part in outdoor activities, went bald years ago nor aspire to do new, different things.

 

I still actively Slalom ski (when our lake isn't 50F) and try to stay active all winter long, snowshoeing and downhill skiing.

 

So far, very few aches and pains and Yoga has helped me reclaim most of my flexibility.

 

Motorcycling keeps me mentally sharp because you're always processing information, and what if? scenarios. Slalom skiing is a physical rush that has to be experienced to be appreciated and luckily I find myself improving a bit each year, even at my advanced age.

 

However, statistics show I'll probably drop dead tomorrow!

 

RPG

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