Movement really is medicine – part 2

Disclaimer: This is part 2 to an article that I wrote in May. If you would like to read that, click here.

During the month of May this year, I made the conscious decision to put time aside in my day to go for walks and runs because I stopped doing that for myself. I was sitting for so long and it was killing me physically and mentally. I forgot that movement is medicine.

So, I took advantage of the Prince George Hospice Colour Walk and made it my goal to run/walk 100km during the month of the May. It started off great until…

Well, if you read the first article you would know but if you didn’t, here’s what happened:

Yes. I sprained my ankle by running into a pothole. It was great. Well, not actually, it hurt a lot. I showed up to work in crutches and my coworkers weren’t surprised.

But while I was stuck on the couch unable to move, I realized how much movement is medicine. I was itching to move but couldn’t put full weight on my right foot.

When I was able to walk without crutches and could put most of my weight on it, I was walking around with shorts and one compression sock on, (it was quite the fashion statement). I had a friend recommend that I should start riding my bike because that didn’t put as much pressure on my ankle, because that was what she was doing with her torn quad.

So that is exactly what I did. Movement is medicine.

I started riding with my Rocky Mountain, Killer and then it was strictly my road bike, Jade. During my bike rides, I would track my activity with the fitness app called Strava. Which became addicting. Very very addicting.

Now here’s the thing.

I was super out of shape. Like the first two times I went for a bike ride, I didn’t go up any hills because I couldn’t do them. I was also terrified to ride up a hill because it had been a few years since I had to ride up a hill… BUT I also discovered this cool thing on Strava called segments. I’ll let the app explain.

“Segments designate specific features or portions of a route – such as a climb, a tricky stretch of trail or part of an open-water swim. Each time you complete a segment, your time is recorded. With a Strava subscription, you can compare it to previous efforts and those of your friends and other athletes.” – Strava

And once I discovered segments, and was slowly starting to put my name on the leaderboard, I was hungry for more. Like I said earlier, I became addicted. And, if you’re on the top of the leaderboard, you either get Queen of the Mountain (QOM) or King of the Mountain (KOM). All of a sudden, I wanted my name on top of every leaderboard.

Go by Bike Week was also starting up at the end of May and I made the decision to sign up because why not. It would be fun to ride to work, right? Also, movement is medicine.

Well yeah, obviously. And then I became hooked on riding my bike to work everyday.

I’m not the type of person to take leisurely, easy rides. I go as hard as I can. One because I just can’t go slow on my bike and two, I usually leave a little late so I have to go even faster to get to work.

During this time of falling back in love with riding my bike, I started to not be scared of going up hills.

Here’s the thing. 14/15 year old Sylvia was pretty strong but she was also extremely weak at the same time. The moment her legs felt pain, she quit. She couldn’t do it. She gave up. She didn’t push through the pain. And she hated going up hills, and would often find an excuse to not go up a hill. It was bad.

Well thankfully, 19 and now 20 year old Sylvia is much stronger than her younger shelf and has fallen IN LOVE with hills.

The times referenced above are 3:36 and 3:57. My personal record is now 2:52. I told you I got hungry for QOMs.

Seriously, if someone told 15 year old me that Cowart Hill would be my favourite hill to ride up, I would have thought you were crazy. Me enjoying Cowart? As if.

If you’ve never done the hill, it’s a little deceiving. You don’t actually see the top until you’re at the top. It’s about 600m in length with an elevation grade of 6%. Oh, and there’s a corner during it. It’s a bit of a nasty hill but I love it.

The competitive athlete who had taken a five year hiatus after quitting speed skating was coming back.

Movement is medicine.

Throughout the entire summer, I was riding my bike. To the track, to work, for fun, you name it. Almost every day I was out and about.

It was great. I felt great. Mentally and physically, it was the best I had felt since I was 15. Putting my mental and physical well being was the best thing I could have done this summer. Like I said in my article from May:

Putting yourself isn’t selfish. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish. You are important and so is your physical and mental well being.

But here’s the thing. I’ve just written this article about how movement is medicine and how great it was to do all of this movement throughout the spring and summer, and as I’m writing this, I’m reflecting on how much movement I’ve done since living in Vancouver.

And shocker. it isn’t a lot. I’ve ridden my bike a total of 4 times, gone on a handful of runs, and I’ve shown up to speed skating practice like 6 times. It’s bad. So this is my reminder, and yours too, that movement is important. And to go out and do something because movement really is medicine.

Also, I 100% recommending downloading Strava. It’s great.

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