SANTA BARBARA, CA (June 7, 2016) — The Samarkand Amazing CyberSams pedaled 1,027 miles over the course of a week to outpace the Covenant Village of Turlock’s CyclePaths and capture the first-ever Tour de CRC (Covenant Retirement Community). The CyclePaths team pedaled an impressive 982 miles.
All the cycling was done inside respective fitness centers at the retirement centers. The Samarkand team included 41 seniors between the ages of 62 and 91. Covenant Village of Turlock had 33 riders.
The Tour de CRC promoted the spirit of improving physical and cognitive health while building camaraderie among residents. The challenge began at 8 a.m. on May 23 and ended at 5 p.m. on May 27. Both communities’ fitness studios were open 24 hours a day during the competition so residents could ride.
They did so on the CyberCycle, a recumbent bike that uses virtual environments, video game features, group rides, and the spirit of healthy competition to motivate riders. Studies show that combining physical exercise with computer-simulated environments and interactive video game features can yield greater cognitive benefits than traditional exercise alone for older adults, according to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Samarkand residents can ride individually or as part of the Amazing CyberSams team, which, as part of the CyberCycle league, can compete against 50 senior centers and retirement communities nationwide.
“The challenges bring out the competitive spirit in our residents,” said Dani Tervo-Shiffman. “You hear them telling other riders, ‘You’re not passing me!’ and then they pick up the pace.” And yes, she added, “They want to win.”
Team coach and resident Marv Branstrom, 78, said, “You could feel the competitive juices flowing” during the competition. “We look at where the other riders are and try to stay ahead,” he said.
Time on the CyberCycle is tracked electronically, and residents who sign up with personal ID numbers can sign in via the CyberCycle website to view real-time individual results and also view other team results.