I hate running. I know some people find it enjoyable and fun, and I respect them highly because I honestly can’t comprehend that. For me, running is a combination of pain and boredom.
Biking, on the other hand, I can do. I’ve been riding a bike since I was maybe five. Originally it was around the neighborhood, delighting in my ability to coast down the middle of the road; often no-hands, and only occasionally with minor injuries. Many times my bicycle became so much more – a gleaming white horse fit for a princess; a submarine; a miniature airplane. Accompanied by one of my many imaginary friends, I galloped or flew or traveled through the depths of the sea.
I left most of my imaginary friends behind, eventually – and for a while I left my bike in the garage as well. I started to get more serious about future plans and goals, and most of the things I cared about didn’t involve going outside. It was a lot of sitting down – studying, or doing school, or writing.
It was probably a couple years ago that I realized that wasn’t the most healthy thing to do. My decision to hop back on my bicycle was motivated more out of pride and wanting to stay the skinny girl I was when I was younger; but I’m glad I did anyway.
Since then, I’ve been biking on and off. Recently I’d stopped, because I found it difficult to fit into my schedule. But I found that I’d get to a certain point in the afternoon where I was tired of just sitting around, and something felt wrong. I usually tried to ignore it or deal with it – I have more important things to do! I can’t just go spend half an hour outside!
This August I went to visit a good friend, and amid the many other things we talked about, she mentioned that she always tried to go walking or biking in the afternoon. That inspired me to get back into it myself.
And I’ve enjoyed it so much. That feeling of something being wrong, because I haven’t left my house or moved around all day? I think that’s something God gave us, because our bodies aren’t meant to sit down all the time. We’re meant to get up and move around. I realize not everybody has the time (or sometimes the health) to go exercise every day. But if you can at all, it is important.
For me, biking isn’t just for health anymore. It started that way; but I’ve been realizing it’s good for me in more ways than that. I could just work out in my room if I wanted exercise, but when I get on my bike, leave the neighborhood, and pedal down the back roads of the area, I get to look around. Look up. See God’s creation in all its glory (well, maybe not the smelly cars. but other than that).
Getting out of the house helps me refocus. It helps me notice God’s goodness more, as I ride toward clouds that hang like a canopy of gray or see the setting sun gleaming on floodwater. The kid in that one neighborhood, setting up empty soda cans in a line for some obscure reason; the open path that stretches into the distance under the electric lines (and the metal gate that I’ve always wanted to enter, it almost seems like you could get to fairyland that way); the little heart on the sidewalk with two letters in it – they’re inspiration for poems I may or may not ever write.
We weren’t meant to stay inside our houses all the time. Go outside. Get on a bike (or go running, if that’s your thing). Go for a walk. It’ll help refuel your creative inspiration, and even more importantly, it’s a chance to look at God’s world and worship.