I like to exercise outside and enjoy the sights along the way. When I ride with my husband he shouts out practical warnings – like glass in the road – while I shout out “squirrel!” He manages to bike with me for a short distance and then heads on down the road for his “real” time on the bike. We both love riding a bike, but come from different cycling universes. He is a competitive road cyclist and I’m a commuter/recreational cyclist. I bike to get places and for the joy of it. He gets down to the serious business of training for competition. I have no desire to compete, but I do enjoy cheering him on – and my women friends who race!
One of the benefits of getting older is realizing that you’ve been trying to live up to someone else’s standards and that you prefer your own. I used to have a different picture of what fitness looked like. Competitive sports or intense bouts of suffering at a gym have been the primary images coming to my mind when thinking about exercise. We see them all the time and equate them with “doing the right thing” for our health.
However, I find that my body does much better when I find relaxed or joyful ways of exercising. Through my experiences with injuries and the forced slow pace of recovery, I discovered that relaxed exercise actually feels great. I love slow, meditative movement – like walks, yoga and Qi Gong. I also love joyful exercise like dancing and biking.
I’ll never be the kind of cyclist that wants to go as fast as I can or obsesses about my fitness gains. But I do enjoy an occasional burst of speed for fun and enjoy feeling my body getting stronger. Finding pleasure in being outside and moving is what is important to me.