Oh, the wonderful world of riding the bicycle on a bright beautiful weekday morning on a city road, buses roaring by, cars careening into right turns nonstop, crosswalks just random lines in the middle of the road. Oh, and bike lanes just extra driving room for cars to get first in line.
I know you’re thinking New York City but I’m talking Orange County.
Riding my bike to get around town seems to be a potentially lethal way to gain better health. But ride I do, singing my own song of comfort on those particular high traffic days to the tune of a most common yet soothing lyrical song, “Ride, ride, ride my bike warily down the road, pedaling, pedaling, pedaling, praying my life stays on a roll.”
Seems to be working as I hurtle my way through paved pathways most every day. Besides having my life thankfully spared by the four-wheeled road gods, the extra inches I’ve been struggling with are finally melting away. Must one go to such extreme as by-passing a steering wheel for handlebars to loose inches on the way to work? Well, yes, but not recommended in my opinion. Not until handheld devices quit making their way into moving vehicles, anyway.
But what I’m driving at is we are a society that just sits. We sit at work. We sit in a car. We sit at a restaurant. We sit in a waiting room. We sit in front of a television or a computer. And we love to eat, eat, eat. So a lot of us try to make up for all the sitting by visiting a fitness center or going out for daily runs and walks or weekend bike strolls. But the increased activity doesn’t seem to decrease our fatty rolls like it once did.
Challenge your workout. Getting the body pumping hard is important, but the body adapts. Changing it up should be on everyone’s agenda. The body is an incredible adapting machine which becomes fit as a fiddle from continuous activity. Yes, getting to that level takes time and energy and thus extra calories burn off easily for the body’s extra effort. But once that level is achieved – i.e, riding or walking up the hill becomes a piece of cake – you know the body has regulated itself into a routine that provides an energy-efficient means to getting you up that hill.
So in other words, the body doesn’t need the required calories it once did to get to that level of fitness. Instead, being the ultimate efficient machine that it is, it packs it away for a later day. And we, consumers of all things edible (and inedible in my opinion), we continue on with the same caloric consumption with our same exercise routine while becoming frustrated about no more inches lost and – the horror – some even gained.
If going to fewer calories isn’t an option, then start a new activity and go through the motions of getting into shape for that exercise. Even just rerouting your biking or walking routine can challenge the body with different terrain and increase your metabolism.
Every time you find yourself gliding along perfectly in your exercise, change it up or do another activity. I say this while whittling away at my computer. In my moment power housing up a hill, challenging myself to stay seated, I curse the very efficiency my body is mechanically striving towards while I pump my weary legs and wonder is it worth it?
Absolutely, unequivocally, yes.
Whatever your level of fitness, move it up a notch and continue moving it in all different fitness directions. From yoga to swimming, soccer to pilates, the body needs all the different ways to build its endurance and keep it humming healthily along.
Do whatever you need to do to get your body out of its fitness comfort zone. Be brave like me and ride your bike to work.
Though life on a bike has its challenges, I must tip my helmet to those drivers who do respect my presence on the road and stop at a right turn to let me pass, reverse up a driveway so I don’t have to ride into traffic and insist I go first at a stop sign. Your courtesy goes a long way into making all bicycle riders’ journey through traffic in the name of health and fitness, more appealing and, most importantly, a much safer one.