(p. D4) At the age of 105, the French amateur cyclist and world-record holder Robert Marchand is more aerobically fit than most 50-year-olds — and appears to be getting even fitter as he ages, according to a revelatory new study of his physiology.
The study, which appeared in December in The Journal of Applied Physiology, may help to rewrite scientific expectations of how our bodies age and what is possible for any of us athletically, no matter how old we are.
. . .
Conventional wisdom in exercise science suggests that it is very difficult to significantly add to aerobic fitness after middle age. In general, VO2 max, a measure of how well our bodies can use oxygen and the most widely accepted scientific indicator of fitness, begins to decline after about age 50, even if we frequently exercise.
But Dr. Billat had found that if older athletes exercised intensely, they could increase their VO2 max. She had never tested this method on a centenarian, however.
. . .
These data strongly suggest that “we can improve VO2 max and performance at every age,” Dr. Billat says.
For the full story, see:
GRETCHEN REYNOLDS. “Phys Ed; Lessons from a 105-Year-Old.” The New York Times (Tues., FEB. 14, 2017): D4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the date FEB. 8, 2017, and has the title “Phys Ed; Lessons on Aging Well, From a 105-Year-Old Cyclist.”)
The academic article mentioned in the passages quoted above, is:
Billat, Véronique, Gilles Dhonneur, Laurence Mille-Hamard, Laurence Le Moyec, Iman Momken, Thierry Launay, Jean Pierre Koralsztein, and Sophie Besse. “Case Studies in Physiology: Maximal Oxygen Consumption and Performance in a Centenarian Cyclist.” Journal of Applied Physiology 122 (2017): 430-34.