There are many benefits of daily exercise. I find that if you train for endurance sports, you get even more rewards. I’ve participated in team sports, but they are harder to organize. It’s hard to play team sports every day, but it’s easy to go out for a run or bike every day.
Last year, I was running a lot. I have started running again, but not as much as last year. Instead, I have taken up biking almost everyday. It’s a low-impact sport, so I don’t have any problems with my knees or ankles if I train hard. Ankle and knee pains, as well as soreness, was a regular occurrence last year when I was running 40km a week.
The benefit of biking more than running is that you go a lot faster. This means that you can cover a lot more ground. If your main goal is fitness and losing weight, I’d recommend running. There is nothing like going on a 30 to 60-minute run every day. The weight just melts off of you. Cycling isn’t like that. I’ve lost weight, but not as much as I’d have lost if I was running more intensely. I’m still at around 78kg (172 lbs). Last year, at my lowest, I weighed 165 lbs. By contrast, in January 2008, I weighed 210 lbs.
Endurance sports give you time to think about life and problems. They also let you focus intensely on physical efforts and how to pace yourself. Anyone can start a sprint and do 60 kph on a bike, but maintaining 50 kph over a period of two to four hours is an intense workout. Not a lot of people can do that.
It’s always rewarding when some young punks on bikes pass you because they are sprinting and a few moments later, you catch them because they ran out of steam.
Losing weight, getting more stamina and developing your muscle mass are great side-effects of this type of training. I’ve also noticed that I’m a lot more flexible than before. My legs bend a lot more.
Unlike most people on bikes, I train. I haven’t yet got the tools to analyze my training sessions fully, but for now, I work mainly on average speed and how long it takes to ride a certain distance. This can all be computed with a simple stopwatch and a calculator. For me personally, it’s motivating to see the numbers on the screen, and to see that I progress in my training each week.
Also, I don’t do any bike touring. I know that a lot of people love just hopping on the bike after having mapped out a new route, and exploring their surroundings. I know that in the fall, I’ll be using my bike as a way to get to school, some 10 km away. I’ve already mapped a safe route that keeps me away from the busy Taipei streets.
Honestly, I’ve never bike toured. I know quite a few people who love it. When I get on my bike, it’s for a workout. I pedal hard and keep my heart rate and speed up, as fast as possible.
That being said, I don’t have anything against bike touring. Actually, I might do some during my upcoming holidays. Bike touring can get boring if you do it alone. Going with other bikers takes organization, just like going on group rides. I haven’t yet been able to do so.
One of the reasons why I haven’t gone on group rides yet is because I still ride a mountain bike with hybrid slicks on it. It’s a dual suspension Anthem 0 and it weighs about 26 lbs with the Time pedals. Luckily, it’s an XC mountain bike. This means that it’s built for speed. A road bike, a carbon fiber one like I’m going to get, weighs about 11 lbs less. The other reason is that I don’t think that I’m fast enough. Once I do get a road bike, I won’t have these issues. However, even on the bike lanes, you always come across one bike rider that is so much faster than you that it’s motivating, yet demoralizing.
Men get obsessed with certain things. It can be cars, motorcycles, or electronics. The trouble is that these things aren’t really healthy and they remain only material things. Since I have taken up biking again, I’ve become obsessed with bicycles. It hasn’t gone overboard, but it’s something I like to explore and research. When I was in Canada, I was obsessed about cars. I had lists of used cars, updating them frequently, trying to upgrade from my Subary WRX STI. After that, when I moved to Taiwan, I became interested in motorcycles.
The main problem with these is that they cannot be taken out of Taiwan when we leave. Bicycles can. Bicycles are also a means to an end: fitness. When I leave, I’ll be taking a few bikes. I plan on having at least 2 bikes to take along. 2 mountain bikes and 2 road bikes. Maybe more. The great thing is that you can have them shipped and it’s not too expensive. The easiest way is usually to ship them with you as sports equipment. It’s cheaper than shipping them with FedEx or DHL.
Lastly, when you exercise a lot, your libido increases. I haven’t had this much sex in years.