Regular bicycling holds off aging process

If you're hunting for ways to age gracefully, you might want to dust off your bicycle. Recent research suggests regular cycling may slow the aging process. 

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Ronan Factora did not take part in the study but says the evidence shows robust physical activity like cycling may stave off certain effects of aging.    

"What they found was that individuals who are really physically active, the master cyclists, all of the markers of inflammation that are associated with aging were all lower," he says. 

Researchers studied the immune systems of 125 people between the ages of 55 and 79 who cycled regularly as adults, and compared them to people who didn't exercise.  

Results show that the cyclists had stronger immune systems, better muscle mass and less inflammation in their bodies.  

Dr. Factora says inflammation is part of the normal aging process and can lead to arthritis and heart problems.  

He says other studies have shown that physical activity is good for the heart, helps maintain blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and is important for brain health. He encourages people of all ages to get moving.    

"If you think about all the benefits of physical activity, this is more than any pill that I could give and it should just encourage people to be more physically active, to engage in some sort of physical activity, to get up off the couch, to do more," Dr. Factora says. 

He says the cyclists in the study also reported feeling more energetic and healthier than their inactive counterparts.