Maintaining mental health

There are times when I need a good thrash around on my bike or, like this morning, a nice run.

I have blogged before about the benefits of running over cycling (a strange thing to say in a cycling blog?) and for me this is something that is very true and real.  Why?  Well, you will just have to take my word for it.  I have no personal evidence other than being able to vouch for it.  I really do believe that when problems or issues are closing in on me, a good run is brilliant because:

  • running and cycling are both brilliant at helping to keep things in perspective
  • running, especially, is a fantastic problem solving tool
  • cycling makes me reflect on things more; to ponder and chew things over
  • all of this is connected to getting some daylight into my eyeballs, on my skin, feeling the breeze on my face, getting deliberately out of breath, getting sweaty and smelly(!) and, most of all, getting a dose of the Runner’s High.  The Runner’s High, is about all those endorphins and natural chemicals released by the body in certain circumstances which give a real lift in one’s mood.  Read more about this – here.

Why am I needing a good run?

I have quite a few things on my mind.  Amongst them are:

  • Work.  So many unhelpful things and pressures going on right now.  This is a dreadful distraction from what we need to be getting on with; this includes being faithful to our profession and vocation.  Management Plans, Risk Registers, keeping a positive outlook and encouraging colleagues.  I’d like to think I’m ahead of the game in accepting and pressing ahead with these changes but it is all still very regrettable. You get the drift?
  • Weight.  I have put on 3 or 4lbs recently and it’s sticking stubbornly.  Don’t worry, my weight overall is fine and well within the healthy range but I feel FAT if I am over 10st 7lbs.  Comfort eating has probably played a part, so too has the lack of running in favour of cycling.
  • Coast to Coast.  You might know I’m committed to the C2C involving 150 miles in a day.  That is something I can probably handle and I can comfortably do half that now, and more.  The 4,500 metres of climbing are still giving me the creeps.  At least I have a 1:1 ratio drive with my bike’s triple chainset and is my secret weapon for the event with those knee-snapping climbs.  The event is at the end of June and I’m feeling behind with training, grrrrr.
  • Car.  Yesterday I bought myself a newish car.  My head tells me it is a good time to pass on my perfectly reliable 13 year old Toyota Corolla without a spot of rust, never broken down, or failed an MOT or cost a penny to run.  Instead I had a test drive in a Yaris which was okay but instead I have now bought a bright red Honda Jazz with only 11,000 miles on the clock.  You might say that is a good, safe bet.  It is.  My heart questions the decision.  What troubles me is that I spent many more times weighing up which bicycle to buy, along with every single component, than buying a car costing quite a bit more.

And then I found this on the web

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Click here to read the article which I read with interest, although I was not surprised in any way.  It was telling me what I already knew and reading it was a kind of reassurance.  In essence the article explains the outcome of a long term research study conducted by Researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

They found cognitive tests taken 25 years after the start of the study measured better memory and thinking skills for those who ran for longer on the treadmill, even after adjusting for factors such as smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.

A Dr Simon Ridley, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “A growing body of evidence suggests exercise may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and much research has shown a link between healthy habits in mid-life and better health in old age.


Times when only a run will do

Does the Cyclist’s High really exist?

What is the Runner’s high?


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