My son Alex and I went mountain biking for the first time in months yesterday, and I thought I was in pretty good shape. I found out though, that I wasn’t in great mountain biking shape. For the first 15 minutes of hills and wind resistance, my legs were burning, and safe to say I wasn’t having the greatest time. It would have been very easy to quit, and were it not for my son, I may have. But I stuck it out, my legs loosened up, and although both of us were pretty tired after an hour and a half, we really enjoyed the ride. Reflecting on how I felt at the start, I understand why so many people never exercise, or start a program and then give up. I thought back to the ancient wisdom which states “that humans seek to act in ways that bring them pleasure and ways that reduce or avoid pain.” I thought of how unpleasant the first 15 minutes had been for me and how I was thinking of mailing it in, and heck, I’ve been exercising for most of my life. I finally get it!

If you are new to exercise, or have tried unsuccessfully in the past and given it up, I understand your plight. That said, if you can just get through the initial discomfort, you will retool your brain pathways to induce the “feel good” neurotransmitters, and will reap the great rewards of wellness. Remember, it takes muscles 4-6 weeks to start feeling stronger, but you will feel better sooner, perhaps in a little as 2-3 weeks, due to a tune-up of the nervous system.

What happened to me yesterday was like a thunderbolt from the blue, and I greatly appreciate the lesson.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.