Life’s simplest moments are experienced watching kids play. When young, we played outside until bedtime, with few cares in the world except responding to our parents’ calls. Wonders of youth were lost between childhood and the responsibilities of adulthood. Exercise helped shed pounds accumulated during college, raising families, and our careers. Health was equated with boring food, endless hours at the gym, and drinking water until we drowned. I miss the activities from childhood. So, I decided to relive some of them. I mean, exercise doesn’t have to be boring, does it? I pictured myself as a child, active with endless free time. What will I choose? Aha…..I’ll buy a bicycle!
Fun, exercise, and surprise benefits……
Buying the bike was an adventure. At the bike store, I revealed my desire about riding again to a young salesman. A very “fit” young salesman. I admitted my fear of crashing and breaking bones at “my age.” Then, something unexpected happened…..instead of cracking a smile, he praised me for this brave venture to be healthier. Wow! Then, he had a game plan. In preparation for my test rides, I was measured for proper fit and safety. This was a new experience; similar to buying tennis shoes at New Balance. I jumped on the test bike, hung on for dear life, and conquered my fear of crashing. Away I went….. My childhood memory took over and my fears went along for the ride. It was like I had last ridden only yesterday. I smiled after realizing I had overcome my fear.
Choosing the bike and assortment of accessories, invoked the child-like excitement as years before. I had a helmet this time, strictly for safety – no fashion statement here – and decided Creve Coeur Lake would be the perfect place for my first ride. The trails were level and the weather was perfect. My excitement mounted as I started pedaling. I admit that there was fear, but this quickly disappeared on the trail. I was surrounded by people having fun. Their energy was contagious. I experienced a sense of mindfulness and the power of being in the “here and now.” I had no watch; time was suspended like when I was a child. What a fantastic feeling.
Mindfulness is focusing on the present moment as it is, without judgment or worries about the past or the future. I was focused on not crashing or falling. No cellphone, no “to do” list. Just right now. I relaxed into the ride, noticing the sailboats, the rowers, families riding together, family reunions, the smell of grilling, ducks swimming, birds and bees buzzing by. I was in nature, I was relaxed, exhilarated. I couldn’t get lost here so I focused on myself, the trail, and my surroundings.
Being lost in the moment is something we should add to our lives. The energizing music in Spinning class gives me a similar feeling. How often do kids lose track of time, even when they are being called for dinner? Their activities relax them, reduce their stress, give them peace. What do we do? We get caught up in spreadsheets, “to do” lists, time. Balance is so important. Our responsibility to ourselves is to find activities that lead us to peace, to healthier lifestyles, to enjoying life, like children. Keep this mindset and… surprise…. you won’t know you’re exercising!
What was your favorite childhood activity that you can incorporate into your adult life?