You, I, we, are blessed to have seized the opportunity of a better quality of life…. by pedalling. Moving more WILL reduce stress and weight and rickets, So made some new water bottles joking that a doctor should prescribe cycling. I had the water bottle chalked up to 1990s business motivation poster level; a whale’s breaching tail with calligraphy whispering ‘Be calm’ or ‘Don’t kill baby penguins’ – now I think the message on our new water bottle should be a law.
I had a chat with Stephen from Cycul. He runs a cool social enterprise to get people cycling and we were sponsoring one of his events. Talk got round to making cycling more inclusive and attractive, not to just grow the sport but to make lives better. We are adamant that discovering the world on two wheels, lets you discover a better world and the chat went around to the bottle. He informed me that ‘Exercise prescription‘ was a thing. The health service says “a specific plan of fitness-related activities that are designed for a specified purpose by a fitness or rehabilitation specialist for the client or patient.” Stephen wished to evolve the movement by proposing “put doctors surgeries in leisure centres“- such was his belief that exercise can make lives better, healthier. This statement has had us submerged in the possibilities all week.
The lazy summons of the expectant patient: “What can YOU do for ME Doctor?” This puts all the responsibility with the GP and removes all from the patient. Whereas, the solution to newly acquired type two diabetes could be “Male changing room on the left and 15 lengths at your own pace, three times a week”. Not more pills, to add to the pills:- go for a walk or a cycle in the park.
Helping support individuals to take greater control of their own health. It won’t suit all. Motivation is difficult to rouse from the depths of despair or depression. There can seem little panacea in a saddle when depression makes a door the front door stone heavy with worry. But for those who can get up and out the door…exercise and company, can offer a temporary cure and a path forward with a dimmer switch. Assisting or inspiring to just get outside could be enough.
By integrating health services with local sports clubs for a grant aid exchange would be an amazing leap forward. Having the doctors waiting room in the same hall as a beginners yoga class with a spare, visible purple mat is a life improvement opportunity.
How do you work that into a hospital spreadsheet. Why are admissions down? “We think it was the Park run initiative or the new cycling club”
I don’t fully understand the release of serotonin or the chemicals that make me smile atop a gruelling hill. But that smile can be bottled and given as a gift. “Do you fancy going for a short spin with me.. the view is amazing? All the pain of getting to the top of the hill is exploded with the joy and delight of accomplishment and sealed in friendship.
If we can stimulate ourselves, we can share the love and catalyze another. Lend your training bike, or gift your old helmet to reduce the barriers to begin cycling.
Health is life. 180 DIAZEPAM tablets cost the same as a nice entry bike with sealed hubs and gears that work. One suspends an illness- the other could be the cure. Imagine that prescription handed out from a GP- Keeping bike shops and people alive.
One of my friend’s father was a Doctor. Dr Aloysius was the first medical practitioner I ever heard with the similar advice to a very overweight 20something lad: “Mark ..would you not take up cycling? “Why Doctor?” “Because my boy, you are digging your own grave……with your teeth”