Keep a sense of relativity

A man on a fold up bike with a newspaper strapped to the pack rack

Paper trail: a trip to get the newspaper starts every day for this retiree. Photo: Eddie Barkla

A common point of conversation runs along the lines of: “You must be so fit doing all that exercise”. The response will always be yes, but it is all relative. Most riders or people in general would like at sometime to be fitter and for instance ride longer distances more comfortably and at a greater average speed or conquer the challenge of the hills they face or participate in group rides more often. These are not necessarily measures of the level of fitness where the individual rider or person is at, but more a desire to be achieving more and conquering the mindset that is stopping them from reaching their dreams and desires.

It is all relative to time available to fit the life style and need of the individual as well as age, levels of past exercise regimes and time on the bike and many more variables.  When you stop comparing with what is right here and now with what you wish your were, you can begin to enjoy what is. Personally I find it just as exciting hearing about a new rider starting off and continually breaking new ground extending boundaries in un-chartered territory as it is hearing about an elite athlete winning a major competition. They are both relative achievements taking a measured amount of commitment that is greater than they had to produce previously and there is a heightened sense of enjoyment and achievement until the next challenge faced.

For some one who has never ridden a bike before taking this step later in age is a challenge to say the least. Learning to ride in traffic safely, keeping their line and developing confidence makes for fitness of the mind and body as both can be exercised to the max.  Whether it is 5 km being covered or 35 km, the effort can be just as much of a challenge and the benefit all relative and as a sense of achievement and satisfaction to match. Anyone who pushes the boundaries in gaining an improved path of health and well being is to be encouraged and supported as anything is better than nothing and the first step can always the starting point in any journey.

Winners compare their achievements with their goals, while losers compare their achievements with those of other people. A young child starting off has limited capacity but knows that they can hopefully increase in time and continued commitment. An older person may well realise that their capacity is decreasing and strive to be sustaining a maintenance mode as long as possible knowing if the don’t use they lose it, its all relative in the bigger picture. A commuter who religiously rides to work every day but smokes and drinks alcohol excessively and eats a poor diet will more than likely negate their effort. In reality they are making an effort at one end of the spectrum with discipline they can always make change at the other end again its relative to the individual and circumstances.

It is always risky to be trying to draw comparison with others whether they are around the same age or not. Everyone’s circumstances can be so different making a comparative measure impossible. When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect your efforts. Keeping it all relative is more the measure of one’s self as only you know what is reasonable and relative to your own application and commitment to fitness levels and set goals that were aimed for.

A good measure of our fitness is our ability to recover this is when we see what is relative to our efforts. There is a distinct difference to having a tired body from exercise than being tired from abusing our bodies with poor control over our health and well being.

Want to make a change? Then keep your focus on what is relative to you and what can be measured in the short to medium term will keep you encouraged and not discouraged. When making a decision to exercise and start a fitness regime you stand at the same point of every other person in history, at the beginning. Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another. Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged.

Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing.


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