Its fitting that this was released as I officially reach 3 Months SMOKE FREE! (92 days!)
Hit the Road for Better Health
If you’re looking to improve your health, try hopping on a bike. As two men in the Central Zone have learned, the hobby we enjoyed as kids can help us feel a little younger.
For Tony Richard, it started while he was shopping with his wife the first weekend in March. Bored, he sat down at a blood pressure machine and tried it out. “I didn’t like what I saw. When we got home, I stepped on the scale. I decided at that time to do something about it.”
After a couple of weeks of just eating better, the weight started coming off but he knew he needed more. “It has to be diet and exercise,” says Tony. So he dusted off his old mountain bike in mid-March.
Donald McDade took up biking to help break his smoking habit. “May 3rd was the day I quit,” he says. Knowing he had lost focus in his past attempts to stop smoking, he wanted something else to occupy his time. “A week later I picked up my first bike and I’ve been going ever since.”
They soon discovered they shared the hobby and have become biking buddies. Both now have street and mountain bikes and ride together weekly.
By the Fourth of July, Tony, CAMS DOS for the South Central Region in the Central Zone in Houston, had dropped 55 pounds. Donald, an FE in Houston, says biking has helped him stay away from cigarettes and has greatly improved his conditioning. “I’m leagues beyond where I was,” says Donald. “My chest doesn’t hurt and I can breathe better. I have a lot more energy and don’t get tired in the middle of the day.” It also led him to start eating a bit better and he dropped 10 pounds in less than three months.
Starting slow was the key for both men when they took up biking. “My first trip was five or six miles and I thought that was pretty good,” says Tony. “It took me a while and I was winded, but you have to start slow. Five miles turned into 10, then 20.”
Then 100 miles in about 5 hours, something he accomplished on the last day of June. “Saturday is my long ride day,” he says. That normally means 50 or 60 miles. But on this day he got to a fork in the road; to the right was a 75 mile trip, left meant a 100 mile trip. “I turned left.”
Donald isn’t up to that yet, but he and Tony are registered for a 100-mile American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure fundraising ride on September 22. They did Donald’s first 50-mile ride together on July 7.
Tony rides a couple of times a week for about 30 miles; around two hours. But that much riding isn’t necessary to see the benefits. “I saw the weight coming off doing five or 10 miles a couple of times a week,” says Tony. “I was losing about a pound every two days and I wasn’t starving myself, just eating right.”
Donald rides five times a week for about an hour. “When I started, an hour would get me about ten miles. After a couple of months, I now ride from 15 to 20 miles in an hour and I’m not tired afterwards.”
Both have found biking to be more than a way of meeting a single goal of quitting smoking or losing weight. “It’s about getting healthy and getting in shape,” both say.
What does it take to start? Just get on a bike and start peddling.