What a 105-Year-Old Athlete Can Teach Us About Longevity

He’s in better shape than people half his age.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

The next time you’re in need of exercise motivation, remember the name Robert Marchand. He’s 105 years old, an amateur cyclist, a world record holder, and according to a recent study of his physiology published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, he’s only getting fitter.

Marchand has been breaking records for years, most recently setting a world record for miles cycled in hour (14) by someone 100 years or older — a category that was created just for him. Researchers analyzed his fitness by putting him on a custom interval training program for two years where 80% of his workouts were easy (a 12 on a scale of 1 to 20 in terms of effort) and 20% were slightly more challenging (15 on the 1 to 20 scale). When the two years were up, Marchand’s VO2 max (a common way to measure someone’s physical fitness that generally starts to drop at 50, regardless of exercise habits) was 13% higher than before he started the program.

The data suggests that we can improve our aerobic performance regardless of age, but it’s important to note that Marchand may just have fantastic genes that have helped him live so long and stay so active.

According to the New York Times’ in-depth look at the centenarian’s lifestyle, he also abides by a simple diet (soup, chicken and a glass of red wine at dinner almost every day) and is “very optimistic and sociable.” This is key, as multiple studies point to strong social connections as a factor in our longevity and overall health.

Read more about his secrets here.

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