Ever since I stopped playing college baseball I have hated to work out. When running is a punishment for mistakes or conditioning to help make sure you are in shape for when the game starts it tends to lose some of its luster. Early morning weightlifting soured me on “going to the gym” as well. I’ve known that it’s important to do some kind of physical activity consistently for a long time, but continued to find real difficulty with motivation to do anything.
I had some success with getting up early to simply go and shoot hoops by myself at a local gym before my son was born…but then of course my son was born and there were plenty of new (and mostly legitimate!) excuses. For a while I was inspired and committed to a Jillian Michaels routine of just 20 minutes a day…but like everything…that faded as well. My wife continued to encourage me that finding some type of activity/excercise could really improve my mental health as well, but try as I might (and honestly, I wasn’t trying too hard) I just could not find the desire or motivation to find something that I enjoyed and could motivate myself to keep doing.
That is until my wife suggested we ask my parents about the bikes hanging up in their basement. These were still in good condition, but had been sitting for quite a while and were not getting used. We asked if we could take them home with us and give them a try and when given the green light, found a way to strap them to the top of our car and brought them home.
It only took a couple of rides for me to be hooked. There’s something about getting up to a decent speed with the wind racing through and around you as go downhill that brings back almost a feeling of child-like exuberance. There’s the challenge of pushing yourself up that hill that is steeper than it seems and the simplicity of just simply sitting and peddling your legs over and over while you watch the scenery change. I love riding my bike and yes…I have definitely sung the lyrics to the song that matches the title of this blog as I ride.
Perhaps part of it is that I still get to feel a bit lazy (something I have gotten quite fond of over the years!) while I work out since I am sitting down and can use downhills to coast. Perhaps it’s the amazing amount of trails and different paths I have to ride each time I go out in my new neighborhood. Perhaps there’s the fact that it’s also a great way to get in mileage and check out Pokestops ins Pokemon GO 😉 Whatever it is, I have finally found a good physical workout that I look forward to doing and can continue to do with consistency.
And my wife was definitely right…it has definitely helped improve my mental health. I have heard that many times from doctors and other research before about the impact that physical activity can have on anxiety and depression, and I am definitely a believer now. I’m not fixed now…that’s not really how it works…but I do have a lot more energy and feel better mentally more often.
So I encourage you…especially if you’re a guy like me who has had the hardest time feeling any sense of motivation to do physical activity after a long career of amateur sports…look for a solid used or new bike, get yourself a good-fitting helmet and some reflective lights and gear and give it a try. You may just find yourself singing a little “Queen” as well 🙂
Oh and if you’re in the Salem-area…here’s a terrific place to check out new and used bikes with the proceeds going to support a really great cause in the local community: The Northwest Hub.
This is fatherhood…