Sunday, January 16, 2011


Church is in session, 50 degrees and raining on Sunday morning in Seattle. Living in the Great NW nearly my entire life, I have come to the realization that it could be like this until June. May as well embrace it and get outside.

Brown's Coffee and Cafe at it's new location, the best thing going in North City. I have been a long time fan of Neil Brown and his business practices. Kevin Rodgers bought me coffee and a snack this morning. Thanks Kevin!

I have learned many things in life from my friend Eric . Included among the lessons is the meaning of the word recreation. Recreation comes to us from the Latin re + creare literally meaning to create anew. Eric majored in Recreation at Western Washington University and introduced me to the concept that the true purpose of recreation is not to simply relax, but rather to help us re-create or renew ourselves. It has taken me a while to understand this concept, but more and more I turn to my bike to help clear my mind of the layers of chaos that build Monday through Friday. Spinning down the Burke in the rain on Sunday with no more of an agenda than to ride, solutions to problems that I have been pondering all week start to unravel almost effortlessly, and the piles of tasks that seemed overwhelming on Friday afternoon fall into a mental checklist and seem surprisingly surmountable.

John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain references a growing body of evidence that supports the contention that aerobic exercise has beneficial effects on anxiety, stress, depression, learning, aging and attention. Ratey's research states that, "physical activity sparks biological changes that encourage brain cells to bind to one another. For the brain to learn, these connections must be made... The more neuroscientists discover about this process, the clearer it becomes that exercise provides an unparalleled stimulus, creating an environment in which the brain is ready, willing, and able to learn.”
Stop the press, exercise really is good for your brainl!

While some may look at a Sunday ride in the rain as an exercise in misery, the truth is that it is this act which helps me to re-create spiritually, physically and now it seems neurochemically. I wonder what would happen if if everyone road a bike to work once a week? Might we notice increased worker productivity? Maybe decreased incidence of depression? Possibly less days lost to illness and decreased medical care costs? Could it lead to improved environmental health? Would stronger communities emerge? Who knows for sure, but we can now definitively say that recreating by bicycle is good for your brain. Good enough for me for me to keep riding.

Livin' the Dream


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