Most people probably look at me and assume I've always been small, fit. I'm 5 feet tall, I'm naturally "small", but I wasn't always thin or fit. With a history of family obesity including both sets of my grandparents and father, I had genetics against me, if you believe in that. And with a mother who grew up in the 60's with traditional American/Polish cooking (meat & potatoes, corn was considered a veggie) and who raised me in the 80's where Kool-Aid was as good for me as water and no one gave a second glance at sugar...things were stacked against me, to an extent. At least I can say the 1980's were great for getting outdoors, I was the generation who stayed outside, nearly all day or as long as my mother would let me. Most of those days, I was riding my bike. All over. All day. Even though I didn't yet have my walkman to use to play my Madonna or Bon Jovi while riding, it was still my favorite past time.
Fast forward ten years, I hit my late 20's, I was tired of, well, being sick and tired. Stomach aches, head aches and I didn't have much energy. Not to mention that my size 12 clothes were getting tight. I knew I wanted to have kids, so I wanted to get healthy. I wanted to set a good example for my kids with eating. I wanted to enjoy and have the stamina/energy to play soccer. I'd had enough.
To lose the 35lbs I needed to lose, I had to make a lot of big and small changes. Changes from cutting out the pop, to adding in more veggies and trying new foods like salmon and farro. But diet doesn't do it all, I had to get active and I knew that in order to keep it up, it had to be something I'd enjoy doing. First thing that came to mind, what I loved to do as a child! Biking! So, I got on a bike I'd gotten a few years previous and never used, and started riding. Once again, all over the neighborhood. Wow, it felt amazing to be outside, enjoying the fresh air and just riding. In addition, I started pilates for strength and building a bit of muscle. Before long, winter came, at which time I invested in a stationary exercise bike. Oh the hours I've logged on that thing! One of my favorite aspects is that I can read a book while riding. As a book worm, it was the perfect excuse to read while doing something healthy and not just sitting on the couch.
More recently after my second son was born, I took up running. I admit running has kind of taken over my life, especially this year with marathon training which included up to 45 miles a week. But guess what I discovered when I had a time when I had some aches in my knee? Biking was the perfect option for cross training. I could still work my legs and keep the muscles fresh and moving, yet not make the injury worse. I can't tell you how many runners I know who use biking for this exact purpose.
So, if you're looking for a way to be more active, maybe something you can even do with your kids, biking is a great idea. You can do it outdoors when it's nice and indoors when it is cooler. You can so slow or fast, it doesn't matter. What matter is you are doing something good for you, and hopefully like me, bringing back a bit of your childhood! Because nothing beats roaming free, listening to music and feeling your heart pumping.
This is why I'm really looking forward to checking out Troy's new CycleBar on Saturday afternoon! It's going to be super hot out so I'll be able to do something that makes me sweat but safely indoors, with friends. I'll be blogging later to share how the classes work. Until then, happy riding friends!