Disclaimer: This blog discusses my personal wellness goals and is in no way a soapbox to tell anyone else how to eat, exercise and/or live their lives.
Last week, I was riding my bike at a sure and steady pace as my teenage children shouted words of encouragement from their positions at least 46 miles ahead of me. I noted the upcoming hill and geared down. My kids were perched on top of the hill and looked concerned. My son shouted that I should get off my bike and walk up, perhaps fearing that he and his sister would be unable to drag me home when I collapsed mid-incline.
Hah. Watch this, nonbelievers!
I made it to the top of the hill by furiously stomping on the pedals. After some fist pumping and Rocky-like chest pounding, I glided downhill. The wind rushed against my cheeks, the leaves on the trees were fluttering. What a great feeling to be back on my bicycle! I had a total ankle replacement last October and although my surgeon had told me I’d be able to ride a bike again, I had been worried. Not anymore.
Over the next four days, I walked like a first-time bull-rider. Apparently, my big push up the hill mountain resulted in various pulled muscles between my lower abdomen and upper thigh. (Okay, it’s my groin area. It’s not funny.)
I spoke with a physical therapist from High Peaks Physical Therapy, Michelle Christensen. After hearing my tale, Michelle suggested that I should have progressed more slowly and eased into my hill-climbing activities; plan a warm up and a cool down. She was pretty certain that my adductor muscles had been strained, and the lower abdomen pain showed weakness in my core muscles. A cyclist herself, she also recommended that I avoid zipping straight to the lowest gear on my bike and instead try higher gears with more efficient revolutions for incline cycling.
“Hills first, then mountains,” she said gently, not realizing that truthfully, my “mountain” was a slight incline.
It occurs to me that portion control – or lack thereof – has contributed mightily to my health decline. When I apply portion control to my recent wellness adventure, I can see that I took too big of a portion of bike riding. I understand the benefits of pushing myself and getting sore muscles, but I don’t need to injure myself in the process.
I think that portion control has a lot to do with quality, too. I can choose to eat three milk chocolate Lindt truffles or a grilled halibut with green beans and the calories may be the same but the benefits to my body are quite different; not that I’m giving up on Lindt truffles. Similarly, exercising appropriately for one hour has to be better than overdoing it.
I know that riding my bike was a good choice, and I have another trip planned this Saturday as long as my strained muscles heal. (Not funny, folks!)
Meanwhile, I’ve lost a pound.