It Is About The Bike

Last Updated: 16 Oct 2020

One thing I have learned in my recovery journey is the importance of exercise. In the past I have used running as a means of managing the weight gain that accompanied my need to take medication for my bipolar disorder .  In addition, the mental and emotional benefits were incredibly positive.  In many respects, running kept me grounded and provided years of enjoyment.

Yet running can take a toll on the body. The pounding on the joints along with the blood pressure issues I have caused my running routine to come to a drastic halt. But I have found another way to work out which suits me just as well. I have transitioned to cycling.

I’ve owned a bike for many years but it always played second fiddle to running. However, this past summer I have discovered how much I enjoy riding.  Cycling is a great cardio exercise that is easier on the body.  Also, I have found it to be meditative in nature. There’s something about the whirr of the chain that produces a kind of calming effect. 

When I ride, it’s just me and the bike. Because of the nature of this type of exercise, it is vital that I maintain focus on my surroundings lest I end up riding off the road, or worse yet, veering into traffic. The best experience is when I am able to get outside the city limits and out onto the road less traveled.  And during the winter I can hook it up to a trainer and use it like a stationary bike.

I realize that, as with running, not everyone is able to ride a bike for whatever reason, but if you have the means I highly recommend it. So go for a spin – and don’t forget to wear your helmet!!!

About the author
Karl Shallowhorn is the Education Program Coordinator for the Community Health Center of Buffalo. Karl has been living with bipolar disorder since 1981. He is a New York State Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor and has worked in both the addictions and mental health fields for over 17 years. Karl is the author of Working on Wellness: A Practical Guide to Mental Health. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and also works as a mental health consultant for organizations across New York State. Karl has provided a variety of mental health-related seminars and workshops for conferences, schools and businesses on the local, state and national levels. Karl serves on the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association in New York State, the Mental Health Association of Erie County, the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network, as well as the Erie County Mental Hygiene Community Services Boardand the WNED/WBFO Mental Health Advisory Council. Karl has received numerous awards for his advocacy efforts in his professional career.

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