On Exercising Out Of Doors
I’ve noticed an interesting pattern lately… I have absolutely no scientific data to back up what I’m about to write, but when I really thought about it, the same thing happened last year.
Things have been very good lately. With the weather cooperating I’ve been able to get out on my bike every day and it’s done a lot for my mood which has translated into good business decisions – but this all started with my wife and I working through a few issues that needed to be remedied. All of the sudden I’m finding myself in a winning streak of epic proportions. It’s been several prayers answered, really.
A fellow blog friend, cyclist and Michigander wrote a comment yesterday in response to my post “Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before The Miracle Happens”:
“…But, I found that I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t stand not being outside. I did take a break, no doubt, but rather than the month that many of my other friends would take, I took only a couple of weeks and then just eased back outside for pure joy rides. In addition to your point about the stress release of exercising, I have begun to believe that there’s also an element of simply spending time outside connecting with nature (creation). I don’t know if there’s anything too that, I’m not a scientist, biologist, or theologian, but I recognize a distinct smile when I find time to just be outside doing anything”.
Now my training was a lot more intense this last winter – more than any other winter before it, but it was mostly indoors. Since I’ve been getting my daily exercise riding outside, my mood has really improved – my wife would undoubtedly back this statement up. So the question becomes is this causal or casual? Personally, I’m not one to question such things – I’m much more happy simply accepting it and calling it good. There is no doubt, however, that being outside has a noticeable and good impact in my outlook on life. I love me some vitamin D.
The impact on sleep
In the last two weeks since I’ve been getting outside a lot more often I haven’t been sleeping as much. In fact I’ve gotten so little sleep that I’m actually getting a little nervous about the possibility of an impending crash. Sunday night into Monday morning and Monday night to Tuesday were decent enough at about 6-1/2 hours (normal), but Tuesday night I only got 3-1/2 hours followed by 4-1/2 on Wednesday night. Last night I did manage 6, though I almost woke up after 4-1/2 – I had to force myself to go back to sleep. It’s not all bad, I used the time to my advantage and got to my office very early which allowed me to get a few important issues resolved and I managed to pick up a nice chunk of work in the process. It also allowed my to get home a little earlier each day so I could enjoy some great miles in on the 5200 without the rush hour traffic. In the end, I’m probably making a mountain of a mole hill. With the weekend here and a lot of rain in the forecast, it’ll be time to catch up (yes, I am aware that many doctors say you can’t catch up).
Rollerblading my way to a happy life.
In the infancy of my sobriety, back in ’93 and ’94, I was big into rollerblading. I was extremely fast – in fact I was as fast on my blades back then as I am on my road bike now – around 20 mph, and I used to go out a lot. I’d put in around 40 miles on weekdays with a Saturday jaunt of either 32 or 40 miles on an eight mile loop at a local Metro park. After a couple of years, I moved a town over and that made getting out more difficult. In addition the powers that be started enforcing a 10 mph speed limit, a helmet regulation and knee/elbow pad rule. I didn’t so much mind the helmet rule, but the speed limit and pad regulations we ridiculous… In the years I’d been blading there, I didn’t have one issue with other users of the path related to my regular quadrupling the speed limit on some of the bigger hills – and I wasn’t about to double a normal 24 minute trip around the loop – it was just too boring. In any event, I hung onto my blades over the years and I’ve managed to get out and knock the rust off from time to time and now my oldest daughter is turning into quite the skater herself (YES!) as we’ve gone to a few school sponsored skating parties. In fact, we went to one last night and she’s downright impressive – she made me one proud papa.
You’d think that would be the happy life part – but it’s only a piece of that pie. Any married man knows that the happy life hinges on a happy wife. When I put on my blades and skate with my wife, her entire demeanor transforms into something fantastic – she looks at me like a rock star, and every husband needs that from time to time. Rollerblading, as it turns out, makes a happy life for the both of us and you can’t beat that with a stick.
Since I dropped my aspirations to complete a 70.3 Ironman last week, the pressure has been off and I’ve been thoroughly been enjoying my rides over the last several days – I’ve been able to back off just a bit on pushing so hard on every ride. I’m not perfect – I still love to hear my Endomondo chick say “Lap Time 2 minutes and 23 seconds” [that’s per mile, they count a mile as a lap] as I’m ticking them off, but knowing that we’d be taking the kids to the skating rink last night I was able to hold my average speed down to 18 mph. Not quite a recovery ride, but certainly a lot easier than my norm. After all of the riding and the skating last night I’ve got a tight hamstring to stretch out today, but otherwise I’m in great shape going into the weekend. I’ve got 63 miles in so far this week (not including rollerblading last night – I didn’t even think to track that). If the rain holds off today and gives us a break tomorrow I’ll be able to hit 100 easily. If it pours, I’ll have Sunday. It’s supposed to be sunny and 66 (F) – cooler than usual lately, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
For all of the Michiganders out there concerned with the upcoming weekend weather. I’ve been tracking Michigan weekend weather since I was in the fifth grade – my father was a weather man in the Air Force and passed some of the knowledge and excitement for the weather on to me when he helped me complete an incredible fifth grade science project where I tracked every aspect of the weather three times a day for three months – the old fashioned way. In any event, the more weekend weather is shaky in the spring, the better the weekends are in the summer. Conversely, the nicer the weekends in the spring, the rougher the weekends during the summer. Take that to the bank, it’s been holding steady for more than 30 years.