Hi gang! I’m ridiculously excited to connect with you. Hopefully things are fantastic, you are enjoying summer and walking a bit on the wild side. Its summertime and something magical happens when sun rays hit the skin and sand lands in the toes. Days become longer, nights endless and a sense of ease and carefreeness develops as the rhythm of summer takes over. If you are like me, you live for summer and with the warmer months you become convinced that anything is possible. Yes, that happy neurotransmitter, dopamine is in full effect and life seems a whole lot better.
For as long as I can remember summer has been filled with days at the beach, long bike rides, hikes, gardening, family softball games and lots of other outdoor activities. Having until sunset to be home was the greatest blessing as a kid because the curfew shot up from 4:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. Four hours in the matter of months was a major score. I was on the move and could not get enough of exploring puddles of mud, kick ball, swimming and hide and seek on bikes.
Knowing what I know now, as a social worker, personal development coach and grown human, I especially value the importance of movement. As a kid on my bike at 8 o’clock at night I was engaged in some sort of delirious fun doing what felt good and could lead me to an adventure. I was convinced my bike and I could go anywhere and do anything. As an adult on my bike I engaged in absolute rebellion of all that is rational and safe in the minds of most responsible adults. Long rides at 5:00a.m. on narrow and hilly roads and enduring rush hour traffic on my way back definitely possessed an amount of danger. Starting the day with an early morning rush was the only way to start the day. Blood pumping, dopamine firing and muscles burning. It doesn’t get much better! One would think with this amount of positive effect bike riding would be a constant no matter where I was or what stage of life. Unfortunately, that is not true.
I stopped riding because my adult brain decided it was best to over think riding once I moved to a house surrounded by busy streets. When my adult brain did its cost/ benefit analysis it left out the importance of movement. It totally left out my love for riding and listened to what it believed was a well thought out rational plan of avoidance. Just avoid those busy streets and crazy downhills, you’re a mom now you don’t want to hurt yourself. So, the decision was made and for two years my bike sat in the garage collecting cob webs and dust. Not exactly how a racing bike is meant to gather dust.
Eventually, I learned the impact of not riding was greater than the risk of potentially being hit by a car or crashing my bike on a crazy downhill. My rational was defeated when my body started revolting. I got slower, my muscles started to creek and atrophy. It got even worse when my mind decided to join in and amp up my anxiety. Weekly anxiety attacks were commonplace. The bottom line, the lack of movement is extremely detrimental to mental and physical health.
As children, we are more tuned into our bodies’ need to move. The under developed frontal lope does not have the capacity to create hundreds of variables to avoid a bike ride. I over complicated and confused myself so much with the thinking I became paralyzed. I stopped moving and a part of me died. Beyond the benefits to my physical health I lost my dopamine rush, my anxiety increased and I slowly began to accept not feeling well. For those of you who doubt the mind/ body connection I am her to tell you it is real and it effects how we move through the world.
When I stopped riding my bike, I also stopped running and eventually stopped most physical activity. I had convinced myself that a swim every once in a while, or an occasional trip to a workout class was enough movement. I essentially stopped moving. I stopped taking risks and I stopped feeling happy and fulfilled. It’s all connected! Your mind is powerful, you are powerful and I get to remind you of this power.
While summer is in the air, I challenge you to take some risks. Yes, every day we take risks. Walking out our front doors and getting into our cars present a level of risk. Our brains are wired to assess risk and keep us safe and each of us has our own level of comfort with risk. Of course, you want to take risks within your capacity. Skiing a double black diamond your first-time alpine skiing may not work out to your benefit. Starting a business in a field you have expertise, skills and information to share has a greater potential upside. Ask yourself, is the safety analysis benefiting you or is it preventing you from living full out. Are you stuck in your head over thinking and creating lists of excuses as to why something is not a good idea rather than creating a list for how it is a good idea?
Being stuck and still is not living. Our brains and bodies know it and take notice when needs and desires are not met. The stress of not moving is tremendous and the stress of not living your truth depletes your body, mind and soul.
Back to the challenge. The coach in me loves this part! We determined that summer is pumping you with a bit more dopamine, longer days are inspiring, and the lack of movement is death. Now that we are on the same page will you start thinking about what you want more of in your life. What risks are you avoiding? Do you want to start your own business? Start or finish school? Get out of a challenging relationship? Change jobs? Get back on your bike?
Write down your goals with no excuses and no limits. Write with the willingness to take a risk. Aging brains do have less tolerance for risk, but remember they do have a tolerance. Age brings more responsibilities and sometimes the cost can be overwhelming at first. Remember, age also brings wisdom. Only you will know if the risk is worth taking. You owe it to your greatness to at least do the leg work and consider the possibility. Find the right balance between movement and risk and go do you. And for the love of everything summer, never stop moving!
If you need some support as you move through the world, you can find me at kacoach.com or on Instagram @kacoach.