MPH: Miles Per Health
After a weekend of sunshine and snow, I returned to the Bay Area, greeted by more sunny skies and a warm 65-degree day. After throwing a load of laundry in the wash, a few of my “buddies” (not four-legged like Day 39 but just as essential) and I decided that we just couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to get a little exercise outdoors. So we fastened our helmets, velcroed our bike shoes, and away we went for a bike ride. At this point, I could talk about the health aspects of bike riding, of which there are lots….but I’m sure you already know them. I could also press “Play” on my song and dance about how the sun shines health on us. But today, while cruising at a challenging 17 mph, with the wind in my face, bugs in my teeth, and an already sore rump, I discovered the Unexpected Health in traveling without a car.
There are many known health benefits of leaving the car keys and opting for another form of transportation. The word “Exercise” stands out. The savings on gas, the environment and our sanity are other obvious health bonuses. But the unexpected health that comes from leaving your car in the driveway for a day (or even an hour) is that when you unfasten yourself from your box on wheels, you open yourself up to the world around you, and giving and receiving “fuel” from other organisms is healthy.
On a nearly hour jaunt on my bike, I felt healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. My body felt healthy by the workout; my mind felt rejuvenated by the scenery; my spirit felt alive with energy from the sun. I felt connected to my friends riding with me, to the strangers passing by me, and to the cars whizzing by me. When I am driving, I am confined to a 4-wheeled configuration of windows and doors that literally block me from others (except when I have my windows down and sunroof open, which as all of you know, I often do!). Yes, cars keep dangerous objects from hitting us, but they can also shield us from some much needed connection. When we are abiding by the speed limit while inside our cars, we can miss what takes place when we slow down and experience life outside of them. So the next time you need to run an errand nearby, opt out for taking the car. Instead, grab your walking shoes, your bike, or even your skateboard, and experience a little health from your window-free mode of transportation…yourself. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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