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When I was young (teens), I noted how all the guys who were exercising were always injured and complaining, whereas I who did not exercise felt just fine and furthermore I didn't seem in worse shape and conditioning than the exercisers. 

However, due to the relentless pro-exercise "propaganda", I eventually started exercising, starting in my 20's. Those were usually pretty intermittent - a few months at a time, sometimes a couple of years. Both aerobic and weights. One thing I noted is that I had an exceptionally easy time putting on muscle mass, something that was remarked upon by others in the gym. Anyhow, one thing that I also did note was that all the so-called benefits of exercise in certain subjective and psychological realms never applied to me. I never felt "fantastic" or got "runner's high" - in fact, I noted zero - repeat, zero - health benefits that I could discern. All that changed when I hit my mid 50's. I for the first time felt benefits of aerobic exercise. Whereas before, I had a natural reserve of muscle and conditioning without exercise, I now needed exercise to keep at that level. Thus, exercise became something that I "required" - I never enjoyed it (at any time in my life), but I now saw the necessity. 

But in the last couple of years a different dynamic took over. I was never prone to injury, and it happened very rarely. But these days I seem to injure pretty easily. Whereas before I could lift weights to failure (necessary for muscle growth) with no injury, I now find with dismay that unless I work my way up in weights VERY slowly, I can sustain a muscle injury. Most recently, it has been my right bicep I injured when lifting to failure - and it's SLOW in recovery... it's been weeks and it's still sore. 

I have also absurdly pulled a muscle in my thigh when I started a HIIT running program. Just a few years ago, I was doing Tabatha runs with zero problems and gave up in boredom. Now I decided to add a HIIT component to my regular running and after a few weeks I suddenly pulled a leg muscle. Not when I just started, but after a few weeks! Horrendous and surprising. It took quite a while to recover.

The other thing that is now a CONSTANT - my feet are sore. I ran for years (well over 10 years) with no problems. But the last couple of years things deteriorated. Not exactly plantar f. but something in the same neighborhood. It takes me a few minutes every morning when I get out of bed before my feet are fine - never used to be like this. I go for a run, and then a few hours later, my feet are sore if I sit down for awhile (watching a movie etc.). And it has nothing to do with shoes as far as I can tell - after all, until a couple of years ago, my feet were NEVER sore, no matter how long I ran.

So the soreness started, but it used to be that when I had a day off from jogging, my feet would recover 100%. In the last few months, that's no longer the case. My feet are always sore - unless I quit completely (when I went on a vacation of 2 weeks, my feet completely stopped being sore). 

So now I'm in an absurd position. I jog regularly 4 times a week, and my feet are ALWAYS sore. They never recover completely before I run again. What does that mean? Now, whenever you exercise intensely there's always muscle recovery soreness, so that's expected - and I guess you benefit healthwise. But I am suspicious of being sore ALL the time and never *completely* pain free - is this not simply a state of micro-injuries never healing and thus perhaps it's a net NEGATIVE healthwise? I am now like those guys whom I watched as a young lad - those guys who were always exercising and always injured.

Perhaps getting older means I must dial back on the intensity. But perhaps being sore and it taking a few minutes before all my muscles and tendons loosen up is just a new "normal", and one should just ignore it?

Anyhow, I must say, getting older has some drawbacks - you (at least I) can no longer exercise without soreness.

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Sorry to hear about your pain. You've probably thought of this already, but could it be a side effect of the statin you are taking? See [1]. 



1. Neurotherapeutics. 2018 Oct;15(4):1006-1017. doi: 10.1007/s13311-018-0670-z.

Statin-Associated Muscle Disease: Advances in Diagnosis and Management.

Taylor BA(1)(2)(3), Thompson PD(4)(5).

Author information: 
(1)Division of Cardiology, Hartford Healthcare, Hartford, CT, USA.
(2)Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA.
(3)University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA.
(4)Division of Cardiology, Hartford Healthcare, Hartford, CT, USA.
(5)University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, USA.

Since the first approval of lovastatin in 1987, hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl CoA (HMG 
CoA) reductase inhibitors, or statins, have been effective and widely popular
cholesterol-lowering agents with substantial benefits for the prevention and
treatment of cardiovascular disease. Not all patients can tolerate these drugs,
however, and statin intolerance is most frequently associated with a range of
side effects directed toward skeletal muscle, termed statin-associated muscle
symptoms or SAMS. SAMS are particularly difficult to treat because there are no
validated biomarkers or tests that can be used to confirm patient self-reports of
SAMS, and a number of patients who report SAMS have non-specific muscle pain not 
attributable to statin therapy. This review summarizes the most recent evidence
related to diagnosis and management of SAMS. First, the range of skeletal muscle 
side effects associated with statin therapy is described. Second, data regarding 
the incidence and prevalence of SAMS, the most frequently experienced muscle side
effect, are presented. Third, the most promising new techniques to confirm
diagnosis of SAMS are explored. Finally, the most effective strategies for the
clinical management of SAMS are summarized. Better diagnostic and treatment
strategies for SAMS will increase the number of patients using these life-saving 
statins, thereby increasing statin adherence and reducing the costs of avoidable 
cardiovascular events.

DOI: 10.1007/s13311-018-0670-z 
PMCID: PMC6277297
PMID: 30251222  [Indexed for MEDLINE]

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12 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

But in the last couple of years a different dynamic took over. I was never prone to injury, and it happened very rarely. But these days I seem to injure pretty easily. Whereas before I could lift weights to failure (necessary for muscle growth) with no injury, I now find with dismay that unless I work my way up in weights VERY slowly, I can sustain a muscle injury. Most recently, it has been my right bicep I injured when lifting to failure - and it's SLOW in recovery... it's been weeks and it's still sore. 

When I was 30, I remember I used to increase loading until I reached a plateau. Without problems. Now, no absolutely no way! Age changed that all. Anyway, you can train for hypertrophy by reaching failure with modest loadings. I too work my way up very slowly and often I stop at a 6-8 repetitions max load, when I feel it will not be beneficial to increase weights (negative neurological signals from muscles and connective tissues). Statins may be a contributor like Dean suggests, but I have no clue about it. 

Running: I can run no more because of aching knees. No more. And can only perform free-body squats if I want to avoid aching knees for days.

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5 hours ago, mccoy said:

Running: I can run no more because of aching knees. No more. And can only perform free-body squats if I want to avoid aching knees for days.

Very interesting Mccoy. I think both you and Tom are a few years older than me (I'm 55). Maybe I've yet to hit the wall wrt aging and exercise, but my experience so far has been pretty different. Except for some really bad aches and pains a couple years ago when I suffered from undiagnosed Lyme disease for six months, I find my tolerance for both running and resistance training to be holding up well.

My current daily regime involves running four miles, brisk walking 16 miles, and (admittedly relatively light) resistance training for about 40min, seven days per week without experiencing any significant joint or muscle pain. I have chalked up my good fortune wrt exercise tolerance to my healthy, anti-inflammatory, vegan (net) CR diet and keeping my weight down (BMI = 19.3) to minimize stress on my knees.

But perhaps it's just that I haven't reached the age yet where aches and pains really kick in. I guess time will tell.


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Thanks, Dean and mccoy - yes, I thought about statins, but I conducted an experiment of sorts when I fasted for 8 days - in preparation, and for 3 months afterwards, I went off statins, because they interefere with mitochondrial recovery, and so the benefits of fasting would be compromised. Despite quitting statins for 3+ months, I experienced no difference in exercise pain. But yes, there is extensive literature wrt. muscles, exercise and statins.

Also, Dean you do a lot more(!) exercise than I do, as I have one full day of non-exercising, and run only 4 days a week (weight lifting 2 x week). I don't know about intensity, probably I do it a bit more intensely since I incorporate HIIT into my running (i.e. spells of absolute max effort) and weights to failure. 

I have no issues with my knees (so far), and since a couple of months I've incorporated squats on my vibration machine 5 times a week, so it's 350 squats per day x 5 days is 1750 squats a week. I am cautiously optimistic wrt. knees, as the literature seems to indicate that running/jogging is not really destructive to knees and might even be protective. Of course, you never know, and maybe with age my knees will collapse.

Anyhow, so far at least the soreness is tolerable and it usually resolves as the day progresses and I'm walking - feet are usually sore after a period of sitting/lying. 

Dean, vegan diet might be part of why you don't experience these problems, but it's hard to gauge, because there isn't another Dean who is the control :)

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5 minutes ago, TomBAvoider said:

Dean, vegan diet might be part of why you don't experience these problems, but it's hard to gauge, because there isn't another Dean who is the control 🙂

 Yes, unfortunately we are all N-of-1 experiments in living. I figured you'd have thought about the statin angle. I'm sure your exercise intensity is greater than mine, especially the resistance training. Glad that your soreness is tolerable so far and it hasn't impacted your knees. My wife's knees are starting to get "crunchy" as she calls it, and it is really bothering her. She's never been a runner, and I agree there may be something protective about running. I also believe strongly that minimalist running shoe are the way to go, once your legs get used to them. Much less pounding on the knees I feel, but YMMV. 


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In my own case knee problems started over 3 years ago, when I was 56 after a few months running regularly on the tarmac with shoes with no shock-absorbers. I'm painless if I don't go over a certain, low threshold of stress. I'm planning to go to a specialist and see if there is some visibile issue in the joints.

Having trained regularly over the years, with moderation and with only brief pauses, like probably Dean did, may contribute to keeping the joints and the connective tissue in good health until an age sure more advanced than mine. My personal issue is that I had to totally avoid upper body exercises for 25 years, due to various reasons, among which bad muscle surgery. When I started back it was atrocious, like trying to start a rusty engine.  I only managed to recoup some mass because of favourable genetics, detailed research and sheer stubborness.

Dean's example is interesting in that it may suggest that eating collagen, which is derived from meat and bones, is not really necessary for the health of connective tissues. 

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It's interesting, Dean mentioned shoes - minimalist shoes impact running technique, is what I think you mean(?). Research is all over the place. The consensus seems - at least today - to be that neither shoes nor running technique matter as far as injuries. But I feel - purely subjective - that Dean is right, because I deliberately adopted a certain technique while running - I keep up a good tempo, but I try NOT to lift my legs too high and "pound", but rather keep my feet close to the ground and "glide" utilizing my knees a lot - knees as far as *muscle* goes, not *bone* - I use my knee muscles for the glide to maintain "spring" in my step, it's very gentle when it hits the ground, it's not a hard bounce that I would feel in my bones - it's more like "loping" than running. I feel - subjectively - that when the stress is more on the muscles and tendons and less on the bone itself, your knee joint is more protected. Now, bone vibration is minimized by that technique, so to compensate I have the WBV machine (still with bent knees and squats though!).

Bottom line, I feel technique might be important for protecting the knees after all, contrary to a lot of recent consensus. YMMV.

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Hi Tom!

In college (graduated just under 21 yo), I did not exercise at all, had a crappy diet and was overweight; but I was completely healthy. This changed immediately after I graduated.  I lost weight, improved my diet (no meat: fish, selected dairy, vegetables, vigorous exercise -- swimming -- daily).  Since then, I've always been a vigorous exerciser; with strong daily aerobic exercise (but very little resistance).  My swimming stroke was self-taught, and worked great for over 20 years -- until unfortunately I forcibly realized that my stroke was not good for my rotator cuffs.  I damaged my rotator cuffs severely -- eventually requiring reverse shoulder arthroscopy for my right shoulder so that I could lift my right arm as high as I used to.  My right shoulder mechanism is now made of steel and plastic -- but I can teach courses, writing on the blackboard.

Continuing swimming was out of the question; the joint isn't up to that.  With the approval of the eminent surgeon who replaced my right shoulder, for exercise I switched to the elliptical cross trainer with arm motion; for many years on the latest such from Precor, rapidly building up to the maximum resistance (resistance 20) for 30-60 min per day, at a high speed.  Fairly recently, my gym switched to ellipticals manufactured by Matrix.  I now exercise for ca. 45 min at resistance 20 on the device, going 2.5 miles, 6 days a week.

Both the Precor and the Matrix elliptical cross-trainers at resistance 20 supply excellent cardio exercise, with some strengthening exercise.  I enjoy the exercise, and regard it as important for health -- probably comparable to controlling diet.

I'm currently slightly over 80.5 yo, in excellent health, and continue to be employed full time as a Prof. of Math. at the University of Rochester.


I was at the last Calorie Restriction Society conference. Dean was there as well. I was impressed with Dean's exercise routine -- when I'm out-of-town, I skip exercise,  Dean did not.  He spent many hours running vigorously on the treadmills at the site of the Conference.

Dean's level of exercise is much more vigorous than mine.

  --  Saul

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23 minutes ago, BrianA said:

Have you tried replacing some of the running with an elliptical machine? Seems lower impact.

I actually used to own an elliptical machine and worked out on it for months, but ultimately, I felt it was not enough.

I guess I've been converted to the view that machines, while they have their place (particularly in therapy), have some real limitations. I am a big believer in functional exercise - i.e. doing exercise that helps with tasks of daily living. Running is an actual function of living the way being on an elliptical is not. There are many muscles and tendons in the feet and lower legs that are stressed/exercised the way they are not when using a machine. There are more subtle aspects too - balance, the fact that you need to pay attention to the environment and react to it, provides the kind of exercise conditioning with neurological aspects that are not duplicated in any machine. It's roughly the same idea as free weights - while I think one can use weight machines in a selective and targeted manner, free weights are much closer to functional exercise where you use many more smaller stabilizing muscles and tendons and neurological feedback to provide more holistic overall benefits. YMMV.

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Hi Tom!

Actually, the elliptical with arm motion probably exercises a more diverse set of muscles than running.  Also, running strains the knees more than the elliptical -- runners often develop knee problems; this is less likely for users of the elliptical.

Sports injuries are a well-known problem.  The eminent surgeon who replaced my shoulder handles problems for several nearby sports teams -- including the Buffalo Bills.

The elliptical is probably the safest exercise routine -- and it can be made very vigorous.

I suspect that the elliptical on which you worked out may have been an inexpensive home machine.  These are small, and are about as ineffective as the widely advertised Peloton.  To get a decent workout on a large top grade elliptical, join a gym and use the (hopefully large) machines in the gym.

If you do decide to do this, I suggest initially using a low resistance, and working out for perhaps only 15 minutes.  Slowly build up over a few weeks to a longer workout at a higher resistance.

Good luck,

  --  Saul

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I like hiking. It clears my mind and it is far less damaging to joints than running. You just need a steep enough hill and a good pace to get to a decent heart rate, plus the occasional burst of running uphill to get into the over 150 zone.

But reading through this thread, I was reminded of a recent study (I believe also posted here) which may help explain some of Tom's observations (or not :):

Undulating changes in human plasma proteome across lifespan are linked to disease

"Strikingly, we observed a prominent shift in multiple biological pathways with aging (Fig. 3g). At young age (34 years), we observed a downregulation of proteins involved in structural pathways such as the extracellular matrix (ECM). These changes were reversed in middle and old ages (60 and 78 years, respectively). At age 60, we found a predominant role of hormonal activity, binding functions and blood pathways. At age 78, key processes still included blood pathways but also bone morphogenetic protein signaling, which is involved in numerous cellular functions, including inflammation24. Pathways changing with age according to linear modeling (Fig. 1g) overlapped most strongly with the crests at age 34 and 60 (Fig. 3f), indicating the dramatic changes in protein expression occurring in the elderly might be masked in linear modelling by more subtle changes at earlier ages. Altogether, these results suggest that aging is a dynamic, non-linear process characterized by waves of changes in plasma proteins that are reflective of a complex shift in the activity of biological processes."

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Thanks Ron, I was aware of this research, and I think it has a great deal of validity. After all, it feels even intuitively wrong to posit that aging is a perfectly linear process. Instead, it seems highly likely that various systems age differently and indeed may have stepwise turning points and furthermore they influence each other, when a given hormone level falls in an aging process it in turn may affect something else and so forth as one would expect in a highly dynamic system.

So indeed it may be the case that while I experienced a profile of effects of exercise up to a given age, it all changed purely because of biological processes and not as a result of anything that I may have done in altering my exercise regimen. I guess my concern is more global - what is the right balance of exercise at any given age point, what is a "normal" and even beneficial amount of soreness (as a manifestation of repair processes and hormesis), and at what point the hormesis is now excessive and tips into a net negative.

We're all well aware of the common understanding that recovery from exercise is slower the older you get - and as Ron points out, it is often non-linear - but I suppose there must be an optimal mix of intensity of exercise vs sufficient recovery for any point of your aging timeline. I imagine that at this point there's only a heuristic approach of trial and error ("oops, I overdid it, I guess at my age I must pull back a bit on this or that" etc.). 

Saul, yes, it was a home version of the eliptical - and as I've stated before, I'm *very* hard on my equipment and none of the machines I've purchased have lasted very long (or maybe I just had bad luck). What you describe is certainly very useful when it comes to respiratory fitness, which without doubt is a very key component of exercise and health. However, I still think that there is some (slight? entirely speculative?) danger that if you are strapped into a machine that does not reflect natural activities of daily living as our evolution has shaped us for, then you might be developing some kind of muscle-tendon-nerve imbalances that may be suboptimal from a holistic perspective. To give an exaggerated example, imagine that you have someone train extensively one set of muscles while entirely neglecting the "core" or other supporting muscles - it seems that the strong muscles might then upon exertion damage or stress muscles that are not prepared. Whereas if you are training for the specific function, you are developing ALL the muscle, tendon, neuron systems to allow for optimal use of that function (running, lifting, dragging etc.). As an example, running apparently does strengthen the leg bones (but *not* upper body), and biking or elliptical exercise does not even as it develops the same major muscles. So now you're faced with the task of strengthening the bones with a separate set of exercises in addition to your elliptical. Meawhile, if you run, you get both for the price of one - seems the efficiency might be greater. Even though I run, I still worry about insufficient bone signalling (through vibration) becaus of my running technique (as I described in a previous post), and so in order to cover that, I use my WBV machine. Of course you are right that there may be excellent reasons for the use of exercise machines - say, if you have bad knees - and as I mentioned previously this is a great application of exercise machines in a therapeutic context. It is also possible that as one ages one may need to resort to machines more.

Anyway, Saul, you must be doing something right if you can manage to have excellent cardiorespiratory fitness at your age - so carry on, what works, works! And whenever I interact with you, Saul, I try not to fail to mention someone like Henri Cartan:


French Mathematician lived until 104 - was his diet CR? Did he use an elliptical?

You still have a ways to go, Saul, to beat your fellow mathematicians :) :) :)


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Strength can be increased without always going to failure -- of completing a rep or completing a specific time under tension. Going to failure is useful in determining current limitation. But for progression of workouts I think it is best to choose a number of sets and a number of reps (or time) per set such that failure is not reached. With the right choice, the workout initially is probably not easy. Over a period of weeks -- it should become easier -- and the number of sets and reps/time can then be adjusted to progress in strength.

Most of us get stiffer with age. Flexibility (range of motion of joints) and mobility (strength within the range of motion) are important in terms of avoiding injury. At 73, I find that I need to spend a lot more time on flexibility exercises and mobility exercises than when I was younger.

I've been going to the same gym for 36 years now -- participating in the noontime cardio-mix (i.e., aerobic dance) class 3 times per week. For many years, if I had sufficient time I used strength machines before the class. But now for strength exercises I prefer mostly bodyweight gymnastic fundamentals -- mostly targeting core and upper body. Hollow body rocks and arch body rocks, for example, are something I do every time as part of my warmup. I also do deck squats.

The major pain that I experience regularly is related to having had torn cartilage removed from my left knee almost 40 years ago. The tear was likely from skiing during high school years. I managed the knee lockup issue without surgery for many years -- until the time when I was unable to straighten my leg for more than 3 hours. Left knee pain has worsened in recent years -- to the point that I usually can't jump without pain -- and I sometimes need to pause for a short time if I notice pain with every walking step. The class that I take involves a fair amount of hopping on one foot -- which I can usually do -- but sometimes I do get sore feet.


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Thank you so much, Todd, for the report from the front lines :)... I am trying to get my head around what the best protocol is going forward, knowing at the same time, that whatever I develop today will have to change as my body changes. I will take your remarks under advisement - doing sets without going to failure. I just don't want to do less than I am still capable of, because I know the day will come when I will not have a choice anymore.

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7 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

What you describe is certainly very useful when it comes to respiratory fitness, which without doubt is a very key component of exercise and health. However, I still think that there is some (slight? entirely speculative?) danger that if you are strapped into a machine that does not reflect natural activities of daily living as our evolution has shaped us for, then you might be developing some kind of muscle-tendon-nerve imbalances that may be suboptimal from a holistic perspective.

Perhaps it's the opposite. Elliptical machines and even treadmills provide lesser shock impact to knees and lower back. The repeated, impulsive stress which overwhelms individual regenerative processes is what kills these joints. It is a known fact that the long-time performance of marathon and long-distance runners is not related to respiratory fitness but to osteoarticular health. We don't know how many athletes take HGH, which causes hypertrophy of the connective tissue and allows them to go keep on with no or little pain. And so far has no efficient anti-doping procedure.

I train around the knee problem by setting moderate velocity and maximum inclination on the treadmill. So far so good.

Also, machines may have a few advantages over free weights, especially so injury prevention when reaching the upper loadings and not having to deal with plates. With machines, we can also train to total failure, since they do not require a spotter and we can do dropsets very easily. And I noticed that some machines provide better muscle stimulation than free weights. The best is probably a mix of both, but as far as injury prevention is concerned, machines are probably much better (by the way, I'm training with free weights and elastic bands since I workout at home now - machines at the gym were too enjoyable and I overtrained).

I understand the imbalance concept but the sad fact is that, and we all know that, evolutionarily our musculoskeletal system was not made to be very efficient over our fifties. After reproductive age, after a life of sometimes significant stress on bones, tendons and muscles, nature simply does no more mind and leaves us to our fate.

Bottom line of this rigmarole: we must listen very carefully to all little pains and neurological signs of muscular and tendon fatigue and humor them. These signs are different in different individuals. Every one of us has a maximum recoverable threshold and we can exercise accordingly. And we can and should train around limitations, as in the examples above discussed.

Edited by mccoy
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14 hours ago, TomBAvoider said:

As an example, running apparently does strengthen the leg bones (but *not* upper body), and biking or elliptical exercise does not even as it develops the same major muscles

The elliptical with arm motion does strengthen the upper body as well.  That's what I use, at a high resistance.

  --  Saul

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Gonna go OT a bit. But while I never jogged, I did walk long-distance (5-6 miles) almost every day for several years . And my heavy-CR'd feet and legs felt that stress. That was my mid-late 30s - early 40s.

Since then, I've been pretty much been in (outdoor) bicycle-only mode. Maybe 8 miles, every-other-day. This is WAY more fun, and much less aches/pains. Also, and most important, the more efficient workout has allowed me to cut my calorie intake!

Alas, the standard diamond-frame bike is a poor design ... bent neck, weird seat, bent spine. So I can't ride all day like I used to at a younger age.

Probably the ultimate exercise device is the recumbent bicycle, or trike. They do remove a lot of the spinal/skeletal drawbacks of diamond frame but retain the cardio and strength/resistance bennies. 

I've also seen ebikes (electric assist bikes) gaining quite a bit of acceptance, even among racers and mountain bikers. They still give you a workout, but are funner ;)

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Speaking of bikes - I sometimes ride along the beach on the bike path here in SoCal, Santa Monica to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach etc., about a 45 minute, or 1 hour ride one way, so 1.5 - 2 hours total. However, I solve the position drawback to some degree, because I don't sit - instead, I stand, and my bike doesn't have the ram-horn-handle racing bike configuration, instead it's it's more of a cruiser bike with elevated handles. I can tell you that you get a *much* more vigorous workout if you stand all the time while pedalling. 

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I use that same beach trail. I used to walk that trail, too.  Nice, clean air, there. 

And that brings me to the biggest gripe about outdoor exercise -- automotive exhaust. Emissions have gotten MUCH better over the past 10 years. But biking/walking on major streets during moderate to heavy traffic is a health risk IMO. In fact, when I do, I use a Respro anti-pollution mask (and have done so for over 10 years. ). Prior to using the mask, I would often feel a bit "fluish" after a long ride ... the mask helps quite a bit.


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Yes, I am *very* concerned about air pollution. Including indoor air quality. Ever since we started having epic wildfires here in CA, I bought an indoor air purifier a couple of years ago, one that was tested and has the highest recommendation from wirecutter:


I also briefly looked into masks - obviously, I jog outside, so this is a big concern - but I couldn't find any reputable testing. The Respro you mention - does it have any independent testing a la wirecutter behind it? I looked at Amazon, and the Respro masks there either have very few reviews (like 2), or the reviews are not very good. I'd love to get a mask, but I'm just not sure where we stand on this - do these work to any appreciable degree and is there any research into particular brands? TIA!

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No, I don't know about " independent testing" by Respro. FWIW, that UK manuf. was one of the first bike AP masks to hit the market. I can personally attest to before/after use. Respro are a bit pricey, and the not-cheap charcoal filters need to be replaced periodically (tho they can also be washed to get back much of their perf.). If the filter loses performance over time, that's a good thing -- it's doing its job.

Seems that the Chinese copy good things and make them cheaper -- so you may want to shop around for other manufs.

 One neg. aspect of that mask is that they can labor breathing  a bit because the filter restricts air flow (and you want a tight fit). So better for moderate biking; not running.

Another negative aspect is, well, aesthetics. On a bike, moving quickly in traffic (especially here in Calif.), no one really notices. But if you're running around on a busy sidewalk, you may get mistaken for the villain from The Dark Knight Rises:


WRT air pollution vs outdoor activity, the best safe practices are: (a) stay away from heavy-motor-traffic areas  in the first place (adjust your route; use residential or side streets, not main thoroughfares); (b) slow down your pace in traffic areas (walk, don't run) so your lungs don't take in such deep (polluted) breaths. If I, say, come to hill on a traffic'd road, I'll walk the bike up.


Edited by Dean Pomerleau
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