A guest post by Melanie Nathan
JUST OVER A YEAR AGO I QUIT MY JOB. I quit because I was tired. Tired of going to an office everyday. Tired of taking orders. Tired of a long commute. Tired of not seeing my family until 6 o’clock every night. Just plain tired. I’d been freelancing in my spare time and realized that with some time and effort, my freelancing could turn into an online business, one that allowed me to make my own hours and work from home. So after my husband and I sat down and made a plan, I made the leap and never looked back.
While I’ve found a great deal of freedom and joy in running my own online business, I have noticed a significant change in my body. My work has always required a good amount of time in front of the computer, but the time increased as I managed my businesses from home. This is something I worry about as research has linked too much sitting to an increase heart disease and health related deaths. Beyond that, without a solid schedule, I’ve lost control of my eating, wandering to the fridge whenever I have the urge. After a year, I’m 20 pounds heavier and tired in a different way. I’m so tired I can’t keep up with the family I quit my job to spend time with. I’ve known for a while that I need to make a change.
When I was younger, I never worried about my weight. Not only did I reap the benefit of an 18-year-old’s metabolism, but I biked everywhere-to class, to study group, to work, or even just to get away from it all. I miss biking. Even though 25 years later life has gotten significantly more sedentary, I still follow sites for cycling enthusiasts (LloydLemons.com is a definite favorite). I remember the feel of the crisp air on my face and the elation of conquering a tough hill. I’ve realized that these things no longer need to be memories. For the sake of my health, I need to get back on a bike.
My first steps are to get prepared. I know that I can’t just hop on and go (especially in the cold slush that dominates the roads this time of year). So as I wait for warmer and drier weather, I’m researching and taking the steps I need.
Step One: Find a Cycling Group
As I develop my skills, I want to stay motivated, so my first step was to find a group to ride with. I’ll be much less likely to make an excuse to skip a ride if someone else is expecting me to show. Luckily, a local cycling club hosts rides for beginning cyclists. Even though I used to ride all the time, I figure time and inactivity has turned me into a beginner again. It will be a good place to start.
Step Two: Find a Bike
I went into this step a little concerned. Bikes can be incredibly expensive, and I did not want to break the bank. I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of bikes listed on Craigslist and ultimately found one that met my needs and price range.
Step Three: Get the Clothes
I want to ride as comfortably and safely as possible, so I’ve found a solid helmet, breathable attire, and proper footwear. I’ve also purchased a couple of pairs of biking shorts to keep unnecessary soreness at bay.
Step Four: Decide on Accessories
It seems that there are a million gadgets being marketed to cyclists, and I need to find out which are beneficial and which are a waste of money. I know that getting stronger as a cyclist will be a process, so it’s a matter of finding the accessories that will help me through that process. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to invest in a power meter. It’s simply the best way I can see to help me build skill and strength. I’ve also decided to purchase a phone mount, not so I text and bike, but so I use apps to monitor time and speed or use a map if needed.
At this point, I’m no longer tired. I’m excited. I’m excited for the places I’ll explore and I’m excited for how I’ll feel. I know that cycling is going to be the thing that helps me turn my health around, and I can’t wait to start. Now I just need a little sun.
About the author: Melanie Nathan is an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and lover of cycling. She writes for many publications, including Huffington Post and Wellness.com. Her hobbies include animal rescue and making zen cloud lamps. Follow her on Twitter to learn more.