I bought a recumbent exercise bike in a fit of panic a few years ago when I was prepping to go on Knitty Gritty. Cable television. In reruns for ever. Me and my generous body on tv for all to see. [Ironically, the episode has aired a total of 2 times, as far as I know. But I digress.]
I rode it for a while, and it soon became exactly what most of these devices become: a nagging reminder of Â failure to stick with it. A clothing horse. An embarrassment.
Flash forward to me now, and I’m in a bit of a state. My body isn’t working well, and things are breaking down all over. I need to do something, but my choices are suddenly limited. I’d love to walk for exercise, but my plantar fasciitis has gotten so bad, nothing relieves the pain except Birkenstocks. [Yes, I’ve tried everything you’ll suggest. Trust me — Birks are my only solution until this heals.] Exercise walking in Birkenstocks is not ideal. My recently injured knee makes walking at all pretty uncomfortable at the moment. Must rest, doctor says. Oy.
So I’ll ride my outdoor bike, right? That won’t hurt my knee! Except my hands are a delicate issue [carpal tunnel and now I’ve got some fun tennis elbow as a result of favoring the hand that took so long to recover from a cortisone shot], so leaning forward on handlebars of a bike is not a good idea.
Suddenly I remember the albatross in the basement. Chiropractor and Osteopath both give it the green light and I force myself. 22 minutes I decide is an appropriate amount. I put it on resistance level 2 (level 1 is nothing at all) and go. It’s hard. I stop multiple times. I do it.
Next day, I do it again. And again. And all of a sudden, I realize my Restless Leg Syndrome [I told you I was a mess] stops bothering me so much. I go for several days like this and then miss a day. That night, legs are jumping all over the place.
The penny drops. The recumbent bike is not an exercise bike. It’s not a weight-loss solution. It’s a pill. Taking this pill makes me feel better.
Suddenly, instead of finding reasons to avoid going near the albatross, I find myself planning my day around my 22 minute ride, followed by a well-earned shower. Two days ago, I barely made it through the 22 minutes. Yesterday, I pedalled like a madwoman with almost no breaks. Not sure what today’s ride will be like, but I’ll do it, which is all that counts.
My knee is healing and I’m walking more comfortably. My body is working better. I can’t believe it took me this long to stop resenting something that would make me feel better. I like feeling better.
My companion as I pedal is not knitting [my hands need resting when possible; see above]. Instead, I listen to really good audiobooks as another incentive to ride and excellent distraction. I can’t listen to them unless I’m pedalling. But that’s another post.