Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let's Get Physical

Recently a friend has decided to take on the task of becoming a bit healthier. He’s overweight and is not the athletic/mover/shaker type. He wasn’t all that active in his younger years, and getting “back in shape” is a bit intimidating. Thoughts of “where do I start” and “what equipment/clothes/shoes/stuff do I need,”  have come up frequently during our conversations. After some encouraging dialogue and deeper thought, he’s considered taking on some major changes in his lifestyle.

One of the major issues that needed addressing was what kind of physical activity might be suited for him to help him lose weight, gain muscle and get a good cardiovascular workout. How break a sweat without breaking his back (or his spirit), so to speak.

So, he decided to take up bike riding as his preferred form of exercise. Using a bike designed for the indoors, he’s taking his changes in lifestyle in a serious matter. Biking indoors was a good move for him:  it would be a great way to get a good workout in without stressin his knees or ankles, he could wear whatever he wanted/not have to wear spandex and he could get a sense of accomplishment watching the miles (on the machine) pedal by. Riding a stationary bike made sense because there aren’t a lot of safe places to ride, especially for novices, where he lives. His focus ought to be on him and his goals – not having to look over his shoulder for traffic.

It was great to hear that he felt comfortable on a bike. Maybe his time on an indoor bike would build his confidence and eventual interest in riding outdoor solo, with a few friends or with a group. I’ve talked a lot about the bike as a form of transportation and recreation, but not very much as a form of exercise. It can kind of come across as a no-brainer, but it’s important to take a step back and recognize its role in healthy, active lifestyles. There are all kinds of races and places for all kind of riders – the Tour de France to, the Tour de LaFrance, Wheels for Meals, the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, the Paris Mountain Downhill Race and many more. In Madison, Wisconsin many folks who train for the Iron Man start riding their bike to work just to get a few extra miles in. And if you’re not up to racing…yet…consider making your own riding goals. They could be distance or time based, number of rides in a week or month or changing your life to incorporate more rides in general.

I encourage you to set a bike riding goal for the coming season. Spring is a great time to get out or to start a new riding routine:  indoors or outside. How will you make some positive changes in your life this year?

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