Bike Philosophy: 4 Lessons from my Ride

I encourage my practice members to have an outlet of some kind. Something they love to do where time passes with ease and leaves them feeling more grounded. For some that may be running, or knitting or reading...anything that allows them to unload their day enjoy themselves. For me, that outlet is my bike. My bike is my happy place.

Yesterday, I went for a ride with the plan to bike to Chestermere. With path closures, and unexpected road race and detours, I decided to head back home instead where I then came across rough roads prepped for paving (bumpy and the opposite of fun on a road bike) and then almost nose-dived when my bike tire was caught in a sidewalk crack. I was in my head, negative and was spiraling because nothing was going as planned. As I was grumbling in my head I caught myself because usually I'm happiest on my bike. I reminded myself that I was choosing the dialogue and considered a different perspective. Here is what I came up with:

1. Sometimes on your bike (or in life) your path will change. This may very well be for your own well-being. Who knows what you avoided with the unexpected change of plans. It also may present an entirely new beautiful route you wouldn't have otherwise taken.

2. You may (or rather WILL) at times encounter a bumpy road. But you're still here, on it, moving forward. It may slow you down but whats the rush anyway? And when you get to the smooth parts, man do you appreciate it so much more.

3. Almost nose-diving is not the same as nose-diving..yeah core strength! The near misses remind us of how strong we really are...and there is no need to add drama where drama is unnecessary.

4. My last lesson/ reminder that came to me at the end of this ride was that I have the power to change my inner dialogue. I know this, I've done it before but there have also been many times I have chose to wallow in my negative thoughts. Like a muscle though, each time we flex a thought or behaviour (for better or worse), it gets stronger and we are more likely to do the same in the future.

I'm a huge believer that sweat, sunshine and thoughts heal. Get outside, get moving, do things that excite you.

Asking Different Questions

 When you have a different focus on something you ask different questions. We live our days based on a subconscious blueprint of beliefs, many of which were formed at a young age and influenced by our mothers, fathers, teachers and preachers. We make decisions and opinions based on paradigms we hold, which we are often not even conscious of. Upon entering Kinesiology and subsequently Chiropractic, the paradigm I was most aware of in myself and others was that around health. This leads me to an alarming article published in the American Journal of Cardiology in August 2010. The article was investigating statin (cholesterol-lowering) drugs in respect to unhealthy food choices. In the conclusion, the researchers stated that "the risk reduction associated with the daily consumption of most statins, with the exception of pravastatin, is more powerful than the risk increase caused by the daily extra fat intake associated with a 7-oz hamburger (Quarter Pounder) with cheese and a small milkshake" and then went on to propose thatfast food restaurants provide complimentary statin drugs for customers to offset the risk of heart disease their meal supplied, adding "although no substitute for systematic lifestyle improvements, including healthy diet, regular exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation, complimentary statin packets would add, at little cost, 1 positive choice to a panoply of negative ones". There are many points of contention in this article. Aside from the ridiculous conclusions made, it is concerning that countering poor habits with a pharmaceutical has become what the western world calls "prevention". This is not prevention. Engaging in behaviours that avoid risk in the first place is prevention.

 We are inundated with media - commercials, billboards, you name it- giving us the message that we have to speed things up or slow things down with a pill, followed by (of course) a list of small print, or fast-spoken side effects that quite often are less desirable than the initial symptom! 

 It is this mentality that has brought me to address the basics. 

 1.      Every function in your body is guided through your nervous system. It is your nervous system that perceives the environment (internally and externally) and it is the nervous system that creates a response.

2.      The body is designed to be healthy. If you are not healthy it means your body is out of balance.

3.      Bill Maher said it right when he pointed out the preceding statement in most pharmaceutical adds: “ "When diet and exercise fail…" Well, diet and exercise don't fail. A fact brought home by a Duke University study that showed exercise – yes, exercise – is just as effective a cure for depression as Paxil and Zoloft.”

4.      Our body’s are self-healing and self-regulating. When was the last time you had to tell your body to heal a cut, create more red blood cells, or tell your liver to filter out toxins?

5.      The first priority of the body is survival by maintaining allostasis (balance). The second is sustenance/ growth/ healing and the third is reproduction. If your body’s needs are not met in that order, you will not thrive.

6.      Health is not a destination, it is a process.

7.      Having a symptom is usually a healthy response of the body to allow it to return to homeostasis.

8.      Health is more than merely "not being sick".

 What we eat, how we move, our experience of emotional/ mental stress, all has impact on how effectively our nervous system can process information. If you are subluxated (have misalignments affecting our nervous system), this can undermine our health capacity as well. If we want to be a healthier society, we need to start asking different questions, stop looking at counter measures, start changing our behaviour and get back to the basics. To be healthy we must understand the source of health and respect the process.

  Am J Cardiol. 2010 Aug 15;106(4):587-92. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.03.077.