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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
Walking and bicycling for transportation, fitness, and fun
Body image and bicycling
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About this blog
By Rachel Ruhlen

My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the ...

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Bicycling and Walking Around

My bicycle is our second car. I love to bicycle in all weather, for all distances, and on all routes. Bicycling has brought so much joy to my life, and I want to share it with anyone who is interested. I will use my soapbox to tell you about the joys, the freedom, the benefits, and, yes, the challenges of bicycling and walking for transportation.

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A wonderful and amazing machine
A wonderful and amazing machine
By Rachel Ruhlen
Jan. 7, 2014 4:17 p.m.



I glanced at an article today that said the hardest question for a woman to answer is, "What do you like about your body?"

I was amazed. Without even trying I can think of a hundred things I love about my body. My heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bones, connective tissue, neurons, blood, and muscles. I love my immune cells and my brain cells and my skin cells. I love the fat that cushions and protects my organs, keeps me warm, and stores energy.

Get your heart rate up: Climb the stairs. Sprint a block. Lift weights. Jump rope. Then stop. Feel your heart pound. Draw huge gulps of air into your lungs. Pay attention to the muscles you used, as they recover from the exertion.

It's amazing! I never get tired of it no matter how many times a day I experience that moment.

I don't take it for granted. Every time I throw out my back, twist an ankle, or tweak my knee, I dearly miss walking a mile or reaching for something on a high shelf with ease. It wasn't that long ago I had That Thing That's Going Around, and I still have a keen appreciation for the World Beyond My Couch.

Gently expand the limits of your body with some moderate discomfort. Go out when it's cold. If you're hungry, take a few minutes to let yourself experience the sensation before eating.

I often mention that the first year I bicycled for transportation, I lost 25 pounds. That gets everyone's attention, because everyone wants to lose weight. However, I've gained a lot of that back since then. More important is the fitness I've gained. Even if I weighed exactly the same-- or more-- than before I started bicycling, I am much healthier. The real gift bicycling has given me is awareness and appreciation of the wonderful, amazing machine that is my body.

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