Tag: health

“I want to ride my bicycle…”

“I want to ride my bicycle…”

Freddie Mercury, Queen

Health. Thankful that I have it, but all too aware of our fragility.

So what’s with my philosophical musing today? Well, in mid-January I went on a trail ride with a friend. My first trail ride since moving back to Louisiana, believe it or not. We were having a nice ride on a flat, but very winding course. Having a good time on a warm January day. The trail was (mostly) dry, and well-maintained. We were just about done the circuit. About 100 yards from the end, we came across a slightly wet portion of the trail. Roots everywhere. All of a sudden, the bike went one way, and I endo’ed. Yep, splat. Perfect face plant, splayed out completely. My left wrist hurt a bit as I untangled myself from the bike and the roots and stood up. Got back on the bike and rode out to the levee for the trip back to the car.

My left wrist complained. I wasn’t sure if it was broken…I did immediately think back to when my wife had a bike mishap that led to surgery and multiple screws in her wrist…I drove home and took some ibuprofen. My wife and I agreed that if it still hurt the next morning, I’d go to Urgent Care.

Well, yep. First thing next morning. X-rays showed what’s called a “buckle fracture,” a tiny little thing. A few days later the orthopedist put my thumb/wrist into a cast. It’s still on…they tell me they’ll (probably) take it off next week.

I want to ride my bicycle. Not exactly feasible right now. I want to go see the “House Floats” that have sprung up all over the city in this pandemic-cancelled Carnival season. I want to get out with my wife and ride around town to explore the amazing creativity that fuels this city in spite of everything. I don’t want to have to get in the car to do that. But the reality is that, for now, I have no choice. I realize this is really a tiny setback, and that things are much worse for many other people. Unlike some others, I will be able get back to this thing that I love to do, very soon.

Next week, though…

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Go outside! Get healthy!

Go outside! Get healthy!

“So ardent a cyclist must be full of good health.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

A cyclist is full of good health. Riding a bike has a real health benefits. First, it’s low impact. Since you don’t land on a hard surface with every step, you may experience less joint pain and damage…I’ve known a number of riders who used to be runners. They gave up running eventually and discovered they they could continue to get great aerobic exercise by hopping on a bike instead.

It also uses lots of the body’s muscle groups…not only the legs get a workout. Glutes, back, core, arms; all help keep the bike upright and keep it moving.

Riding a bicycle generally gets you to breathe deeper (you can vary the intensity to made it as hard, or as easy, as you’d like!). And a 2014 study actually showed that people driving bicycles were exposed to far less air pollution than those driving cars!

Active people just feel better! Exercise causes the release of adrenalin and endorphins, which may energize you and make you feel good. And the extra activity burns calories…there’s no guarantee you’ll lose weight, but if that’s a goal, cycling (or any other exercise) may help you reach it.

Heart rate: cycling raises it, and is a good way to cut risk of heart disease. Many exercises will do this, and more. Possible side effects of exercise include improved sleep, brain health, and a strengthened immune system.

And here’s a shocker: using a bicycle for those short trips and errands often takes less time than using a car. Think about it. Getting in the car, driving to where you need to go, finding a parking place, walking to the entrance…or…jump on the bike, drive to where you need to go, park right by the front door, BOOM. Many “races” in numerous cities ended with the bicyclist arriving long before the motorist.

Want a little more information about how cycling can help? Check out these articles from Cycling Weekly, Harvard Health Publishing, MDAnderson. Or try it out yourself. Get on your bike and ride!

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