Author Topic: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?  (Read 2754 times)

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Offline Mark Manley

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2013, 10:22:18 pm »
More information to add to this discussion, the avoid crashing is fairly obvious but this would suggest hard cycling is very good for you, although that is not quite what the op was about.
Either way the feel good factor of touring has to be life enhancing if not extending so the bottom line for me is if you want to tour then do it.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2031394/Cycling-work-add-years-life--pedal-hard-avoid-crashing.html

Offline Lee Legrand

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2013, 07:24:21 am »
Long distance cycling is bad if you are talking about ultra mile type riding.  For example, if you are doing 150 mile/day rides on a continuous bases, you are going to develop overuse syndrome in which you basically your joints are worn away from continuous movement.  I do think cycling will help in overall health of in individual especially if you do interval training while cycling.  Eating highly processed foods and starchy foods like bread and pasta tend to take away from health.  I understand that cycling requires sugar for events but those sugars should probable come from fruits and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. 

Offline iwstamp

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2013, 05:47:04 am »


Maybe just coincidence, but I cannot help but suspect that the steady diet of pizza, ice cream, peanut butter, cheese, cookies, hash browns, bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy may have aggravated an existing condition and contributed to the attacks. When traveling with a group it's easy to chow down with everybody else thinking your normal again for the duration of the trip when you still have CAD. It' easy to say "I worked hard today and I deserve this pint of ice cream!" Yes, I think one needs and burns off the extra calories but in my case the cholesterol kept rising despite the exercise.


Amazing how you overcame your health issues! This actually gets to the heart of my question (no pun intended) or at least a real concern of mine. This might be a topic onto itself but while on the road, there are scant food choices...or should I say scant healthy food choices. I actually subscribe to a low carb, whole food regimen. I am in a constant state of ketosis and my body has adapted to burning fat (as opposed to sugar) for fuel. I have done many long distance rides with a few centuries thrown in without having to carb load before or sugar fuel during the ride. A cross country trip would not offer the dietary options that I have while close to home. Again, off point but something I'd be interested in knowing if any other low carbists have ridden cross country and somehow managed to stick with their protocol?

Offline Shane

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2013, 12:34:06 pm »
It would be too easy to draw simple conclusions about touring.

Add factors like poor diet in 3rd world countries, social isolation on long tours, language barrier etc etc then not only do physical health issues become an issue but also mental issues.

Shane
(who started loosing his marbles about 9 months into his Africa tour ...)

Offline litespeed

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2013, 03:15:06 pm »
I am 72 with genetically low blood pressure and VERY low cholesterol and an affinity for plodding away at hard, endless, tiresome tasks - ideal for long distance bicycle touring. As for diet I eat out (don't camp cook) but usually manage to get reasonably proper meals. That's what Waffle House's, oriental buffets and Subway's are for. I usually knock out 100 mile days. If I get tired I take a rest day.

After a tour I feel great although I have never specifically checked my BP or cholesterol upon returning home. I think bicycle touring is a healthy lifestyle. One big advantage of cycling is that it is not weight bearing and therefore easy on the joints. My brother and sisters (all younger than me) have all had joint replacements (hips and knees) but, as the only touring cyclist, I have been spared.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 04:32:56 pm by litespeed »

Offline mmounties

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2013, 11:44:42 am »
750 cyclist die each year compare this to 150 police officers.

I'm not sure this statement conveys anything meaningful.  Are you trying to ask about whether cycling is safe?  If you're inquiring about it's health benefits the comparison with the cops dying limps a bit.

If you're asking about cycling safety I can answer truly that, for instance, in Southern California you are much more likely to die by walking or driving a car than by cycling although, arguably, many cyclists do.  This said, cycling does becomes safer as the number of cyclists increase, whether long distance or otherwise.  So please bring your friends.  It also becomes safer as we build awareness and build and strengthen bicycle infrastructure so please be sure you're involved to this end in your community.   :)

http://www.leparisien.fr/automobile/danemark-la-fausse-pub-parodique-qui-a-fait-grincer-citroen-23-07-2013-3002691.php?fb_action_ids=10201676279212676&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
-- Tina

Offline mmounties

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2013, 11:50:52 am »
Continued (my post was cut off): Click on the video about halfway down the page, titled "Driving Kills", and originally made by Copenhagenize.com as a visual What-if-car-companies-were-required-to-practice-truth-in-advertising spot.

On the other hand, if your question is really whether long distance touring is healthier than day rides or commuting, the correct answer might be "it depends".

It is my experience that if you don't manage your resources properly, both in and outside of your body, you won't be a long distance tourer for long.  On the other hand, long distance touring teaches you a lot about your body (if you care to listen) and so you may start out doing many of the wrong things and end up managing your resources just fine.  You probably want to use the same common sense though regarding the kind of food you consume that you try to use when you're home.  I eat much as I do at home for all but one and sample the local fare during the one meal.  I do carry some food bars with me for emergency rations but I really don't need them often.

Long distance touring also doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding from sun-up to sun-down, though if this is what floats your boat and you feel good doing it, by all means, go for it.  When I tour, I'm not in a hurry.  I prefer to ride for 5 hours or so and use the rest of my waking hours securing food and a shower, doing laundry, pitching my tent, visiting the library or local museum to charge my gadgets and learn about the local area and people, socializing (when possible), reading and so forth.  So long-distance touring may look completely different for you than it looks for me (aside from that it keeps going for weeks or months on end).  But just the fact that it keeps going doesn't in itself make it extreme or unhealthy.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 11:53:15 am by mmounties »
-- Tina

Offline iwstamp

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2013, 01:52:21 am »
Continued (my post was cut off): Click on the video about halfway down the page, titled "Driving Kills", and originally made by Copenhagenize.com as a visual What-if-car-companies-were-required-to-practice-truth-in-advertising spot.

On the other hand, if your question is really whether long distance touring is healthier than day rides or commuting, the correct answer might be "it depends".

It is my experience that if you don't manage your resources properly, both in and outside of your body, you won't be a long distance tourer for long.  On the other hand, long distance touring teaches you a lot about your body (if you care to listen) and so you may start out doing many of the wrong things and end up managing your resources just fine.  You probably want to use the same common sense though regarding the kind of food you consume that you try to use when you're home.  I eat much as I do at home for all but one and sample the local fare during the one meal.  I do carry some food bars with me for emergency rations but I really don't need them often.

Long distance touring also doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding from sun-up to sun-down, though if this is what floats your boat and you feel good doing it, by all means, go for it.  When I tour, I'm not in a hurry.  I prefer to ride for 5 hours or so and use the rest of my waking hours securing food and a shower, doing laundry, pitching my tent, visiting the library or local museum to charge my gadgets and learn about the local area and people, socializing (when possible), reading and so forth.  So long-distance touring may look completely different for you than it looks for me (aside from that it keeps going for weeks or months on end).  But just the fact that it keeps going doesn't in itself make it extreme or unhealthy.

Great advice Tina!

Offline mattschwartz01

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2013, 07:08:04 pm »
I know what you are thinking... How could it not be? 75 miles day after day on a loaded bike for weeks and weeks no less. It has to translate into both short term and long term health benefits. I ride about 80 to 100 miles per week... On a touring bike over very, very hilly terrain so I only average about 14 miles per hour. The reason I bring up the health question is that there is more and more evidence that "endurance" athletes may actually be doing more harm than good to their heart and longevity. I won't go into all the studies here but the data is compelling. I am planning my own cross country trip and I don't think I'll pay this notion too much mind.... Just curious if anyone else has an opinion. Do long distance cyclists live longer or shorter than the regular Joe?

Thanks!

No pun intended, but I'm going to take the long road on this one.  I'm certainly far from being an expert and I only have a layman's opinion.  My guess is that if you tour smart and safely you minimize the risk of injury.  When you are touring, make good food choices - it's surprising that with a little planning and effort, it is entirely possible to eat nutritiously.  Also, IMHO, touring is about the journey and shouldn't be about pushing to break records - sometimes I think we are too competitive as a society.  Touring is to cycling what backpacking is to hiking would be an apt analogy.  I was once on a backpacking trip and there was an 85 year old man and his 82 year old wife carrying full packs and moving along well.  I chatted him up and his statement that backpacking was keeping him young struck me as particularly interesting. If he and his wife needed an extra day of rest at a campsite, they took it.  If they needed to shorten a trip they always had a plan.  Plus, the couple had the attitude that just getting out and doing is a victory.  The relationship between biochemistry, physiology, and mental state is not well understood.

I take a somewhat more philosophical approach: If it's your time to check out of life, better to do it doing something you love rather than doing something you hate.  If it is my turn to go, I'd sooner it be while on a bicycle tour, living life to its fullest rather than sitting behind a desk in a cubicle farm.

Offline mattschwartz01

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2013, 07:19:27 pm »
There are always those who will abuse a good idea to the point of damage.  The "if some is good, more is better and way too much is about right" school of thought.  Good advice can be abused.

Exercise is good for your health but can be overdone to the point where good turns to harm.  Professional Grand Tour riders usually come out of the tours weaker than they went in but theirs is an extreme example of overuse.  How many tourists do anything approaching what they do?

Drinking water is good for you but there are those who drink so much it dilutes their electrolyte levels to the point of serious health issues.  Extrapolating too much can do harm.   

If bike touring is "unhealthy" it may be that doing an endless, unbroken succession of 100 miles days is damaging.  Or, as others have noted, poor on-the-road nutrition is a factor.

I would say this hits the nail directly on the head.  Life is about balance!  Even our bodies at the physiologic levels seek homeostasis (or balance.)  When an organism is not in balance, it risks injury and death. 

Offline DanE

Re: Is Long Distance Touring Really a Healthy Endevour?
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2013, 12:14:39 pm »
There is a new study released in France which determines that French men who have ridden the Tour de France live seven years longer than the average French man.

http://www.theheart.org/article/1577479.do