Is cycling therapeutic? That’s a good question to ask and it largely depends on the kind of “therapy” being sought and will inevitably vary from person to person. Yesterday I had a cycle ride, 26 miles, which I found to be very therapeutic in a number of different ways:
Cycling is pretty much a non weight bearing form of exercise. You’re mostly sitting down, of sorts, and you’re not pounding your legs, joints and feet through running. You can take it easy and pedal as gently as you like.
We all know cycling isn’t only about giving your legs some exercise. Yesterday was a fantastic example. While I might be way off my cycling peak right now, I was conscious of my whole body working as I cycled up a hill – and it wasn’t that steep! Naturally my legs were doing the main work, as you’d expect. My feet did their bit too. Moreover I could feel myself gently pulling on the handlebars, my shoulders were working and my core muscles too – but these weren’t overly working too hard, more of a gentle example of my body working well and how we can marvel at the way we are made.
I have been working hard in my job over the last few months with minimal time off, so this week seemed absolutely ideal in being able to step back from the world of justice reforms, the Transforming Rehabilitation programme and corporate affairs. So many times before cycling has proved a very therapeutic way of processing all this in my mind and filing it all away, neatly where it belongs.
Cycling is also a wonderful way of being able to simply ponder a few things through, to enjoy the surroundings as they drift by. It is also through being in the fresh air, feeling the wind against my face, the odd spot of rain and the changing temperature that reminded me that I’m alive and not just a machine in an office. Being in daylight also made a difference and I am sure I benefit from this, not that I have consciously been affected by the Seasonal Affective Disorder at all. Nevertheless it was an important reason to be out in the fresh air. Loved it.
I’m a Christian and I often marvel at the way the world has been made. I marvel at what God has done for me, although I just don’t deserve any of it at all; but then that’s what mercy and grace is all about. This also ties in with what I’d said earlier about being able to step back and reflect on things – so beneficial. I also think of the struggles going on in the world and wonder why these are happening and of course there’s no easy answer but they are opportunities to do something positive about them.
I remember before I have listed the 50 reasons why cycling is so great and there must be so many more reasons. So this cycle ride around my familiar routes in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire has been such a prize.