Cycling Wed: Good choices plus good choices equals…

I say it over and over again. I urge, cajole and yes, sometimes even plead.

It’s the small choices that add up…

…to good outcomes.

Outcomes?

That’s the thing. It could be good health measures like lower blood pressure or boastful cholesterol levels, or it could be successful cycling results.

Small choices. Little things. Not perfection–just one more good decision each day.

In the office:

  • Patients with pesky but benign arrhythmia can help themselves by reducing caffeine and alcohol intake and getting enough rest.
  • Patients with expanding waistlines don’t have to become triathletes or marathoners. They just have to eat one less bad thing per day.
  • Patients with a family history of heart disease improve their chances of avoiding the fate of their parents by getting routine medical check-ups.
  • Low-risk but high-strung patients with atrial fibrillation would do well to see something positive about their body. (Like it could be a heck of a lot worse than AF.)

On the bike:

  • Cyclists recover more thoroughly if they drink less beer and go to bed on time.
  • Cyclists climb faster if they choose to (mostly) forgo the brownies in the doctor’s lounge.
  • Bike racers stand a better chance when their bike is in working order. Routine bike maintenance helps.
  • Bike racers would surely get faster if they let themselves have some fun.

Small choices. Obvious choices. Easy choices?

Choices nonetheless.

The similarities seem so clear. Better cycling requires adding up small but good choices. It’s the same with arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many other medical conditions. Not perfection—just little things.

Here’s the icing: Making small but consistently good choices, which then lead to good outcomes, often sticks. Scientists call this phenomenon positive feedback. Our brains learn. A resetting of sort occurs. Feeling good and choosing wisely become normal.

Seriously, I’ve seen this happen. I’m trying to do it myself. I’ll let you know if I succeed.

The take home: Be kind to yourself.

JMM

3 comments

  1. Dr. John,

    This is just what some of us older aspiring competitive triathletes/cyclists need to read. We tend to want to go where we’ve been and forget about how much older we are and end up setting ourselves back with another nagging injury. Sound familiar to anyone or is it just dumb ole me?

    Trilaker Phil

  2. Ethanol has a mild angiogenic effect and some yet unexplained anti-inflammatory effects. A couple of beers may be detrimental to recovery, but perhaps just one beer may actually be beneficial?

  3. If I lay off the brownies my Strava rank would go from 47/50 to 38/50. I can live with that. Leave some brownies for me. Monday lemon meringue pie also works.

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