Olympic athletes are currently running, driving, jumping, and flipping all over our television screens and news feeds. It’s enough to make you feel very lazy. But if you need a kick to get you off your laptop and get fit, take a look at Robert Marchand, a 104-year-old record-smashing cyclist.
Last month, the plucky Frenchman was part of a study published in Age & Ageing that looked into centenarian athletes. New Scientist reports that the researchers looked at Marchand and 18 other athletes aged over 100 years old in an attempt to understand the change in performance that occurs as athletes age. Out of all the centenarian athletes studied, Marchand was the most remarkable.
Romuald Lepers told New Scientist that most people can maintain their level of performance until around 35 to 40 years of age. After that, people experience a 10 to 15 percent decrease in performance each decade.
However, Marchand didn’t show such a decline. He is able to cycle 26.93 kilometers (16.73 miles) in one hour – that’s just 50.6 percent slower than the all-age world record of 54.53 kilometers (33.88 miles), which belongs to Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins. Marchand's performance accounts for a decline of less than 8 percent each decade.
Marchand may be a biological exception – with unbelievable muscular, heart, and respiratory function compared with other 104year-olds – but he also serves as an inspiration that it’s never too late to get healthy.