Pedaling Toward Health
I just had to buy a road bike a few years back. I thought that bike riding was going to be my newest hobby. Although I do love to ride my bike, actually getting me on the darn thing is another story. I always have some other activity that takes precedence (aka Lucca needs exercise and if you have ever met her, you know she would not do well on a leash next to my bike…disaster!). So, my poor bike does not get near enough use. But today, as I reminisced about my Ireland trip last summer and the saying that caught my attention–and still does–I discovered the Unexpected Health in…riding bikes.
I do not need to blab about the health benefits of cycling: you know, the cardiovascular health, the muscle-building, the outdoor air, the adventure! But riding a bike offers so much more than physical health. In fact, I might argue that cycling’s mental health attributes are questionably more beneficial than the physical benefits. As I so profoundly learned from a side alley wall in Belfast, Ireland, the Unexpected Health in riding a bike is that its obvious mechanics of use is actually a way of living…and allowing the mundane to unravel the marvel is healthy.
“Every turn of the wheel is a revolution.” Those eight little words caught my eye as I walked down a nearly abandoned alley in Belfast. In fact, this area housed get-away exits for the Irish during The Troubles (that’s what they called the Irish/Protestant war times). As my navigator friend and I walked through this war-burdened city, learning the history while still feeling the underlying current of The Troubles, I couldn’t help but be blown away by this saying etched on a wall. Yes, to pedal a bike, you must turn the wheel…the full circle turn is a revolution; literally! But to turn the tides of our lives, our country, our world, we must also ‘change our position;’ we must move in a forward direction.
I think about this saying often. I visualize what a simple pedal will do. With a single revolution, I can be in a completely different location. So, the same goes for mental cycling. When we put our life gears in motion, we can cause a revolution; a revolution of body, of mind, of spirit…of heart. We are born physical beings. What this means is that we were created to move; to move our bodies, to work our minds, and to create movement in our hearts. We have the ability to manipulate our muscles while at the same time, inspire our minds. While my legs moved my body on the streets of Belfast, my eyes allowed me to see the expansive potential we all have when we churn up the waters to move our waterwheels…our lives. So the next time you think about participating in a physical activity like bike riding, do it mindfully. Remember that even the simplest activity–one that you may have never done with awareness–can be the most powerful, the most visual, reminder of where you are, where you are going, and who you are being. Be big! -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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