Person enjoying bicycling

How To Enjoy Exercise

New Gear, More Fun

This weekend I went on a 30-mile bike ride with my parents. We went up to the North Central Rail Trail and rode into Pennsylvania and back. Lovely ride, gradual incline toward New Freedom, PA but no steep hills and no cars to contend with, just the occasional jogger and muddy patch on the trail. The majority of the trail is shaded and runs along the Gunpowder Falls. There are also trail stations every so often with restrooms and fresh water. Quite civilized.

My parents just recently got their bicycles this summer. My mother and I used to ride bikes together on fairly long rides through the city when I was young and she said she always enjoyed riding and wanted to take it up again. They have been riding almost every weekend since they got the bikes and my father has started riding to work occasionally. They are going on a weekend-long, almost 100-mile bike trip in Western Maryland next month and are going on a bicycling vacation in Holland next summer.

More Fun, More Exercise

So why do you care about all this? Well, I think it speaks to how essential it is to find physical activity that you enjoy. If you are not a person who enjoys running (for example) then you will probably not stick with it and start to dread exercise. Maybe what you would really enjoy is a dance class instead. Think about what sorts of physical activity you have enjoyed in the past or maybe there is something you have always wanted to do – give it a try! You may surprise yourself with how much you enjoy doing something active.

Don’t discount the social aspect of exercise. Taking a bike ride with with your family on a weekend sounds much different than saying “I’m waking up Saturday morning and riding 30 miles before noon.” The biking vacations my parents are taking certainly are examples of this. You can find the same camaraderie training for a road race or triathlon, in a spinning class or a master’s swim team. Not everyone likes to exercise with other people but if you’re stuck in a rut or can’t seem to find something that’s a good fit, give it a try.

And while one of the best things about exercise is that it doesn’t need to cost a thing, sometimes some new gear can really give you a boost. It doesn’t need to be something as big or expensive as a new bike. A new workout outfit or water bottle can also add a little zip to your exercise routine.

So go find whatever sort of physical activity works for you, try it with some other people, go shopping for some new gear if you want and of course – you are never too old to try something new!

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