When a “healthy” activity puts you in the hospital

(A message to those brave adventurers who have fallen in the field of honor, as well as those who someday will)


Fighting the good fight in a quest for health:


I know that right now you are questioning the benefits of bike riding (or exercise of choice) and your friends and family are likely not helping as they use your situation to help them justify their own safe and unhealthy lifestyle. Perhaps you are wondering if they are right and the risks are just not worth the benefits, after-all the cost and lost productivity you are now experiencing hardly seems a fair return on your investment.

I understand, I’ve been there. I don’t have a great convincing answer to the problem but I have some thoughts on the matter;

There is indeed risk of injury with bike riding, but we need to not loose sight of the fact that there is risk with everything as long as we live, there is no avoiding it.

Yes, it’s true that there is greater risk of injury when we do fun things rather than just stay “safely” on the couch, and obesity and all of its accompanying disorders do seem more convenient to our lifestyle than an unplanned, interruptive trip to the hospital due to an activity related injury.

"If only you had stayed home and watched TV with me... When will you ever learn to act my age?"

“If only you had stayed home and watched TV with me… When will you ever learn to act my age?”

People are slowly inconvenienced with diabetes or by other chronic disease, they can schedule around it, but it’s a lifelong bad deal. A cycling related injury is an unwelcome experience, but far less expensive and time consuming in the long run. Though at the time it seems like an avoidable risk that was not worth exposing yourself to, compared to more convenient lifelong diseases it’s actually a pretty good deal.

I’ve broken 2 bones in my body in my lifetime. The first was in the kitchen stepping awkwardly onto an object that shouldn’t have been there, twisting my ankle and fracturing a bone in my foot.

The second one was a vertebrae that I broke having just a bit too much fun riding my off-road bicycle.

Both injuries took about as long to heal. I had more fun inflicting the second one on myself. No one has told me, “You really shouldn’t have been walking in the kitchen, it’s a bit risky at your age.” But a few have said similarly silly things about the other injury. You too no doubt have some of these types in your life. They are the ones with poor perspectives, don’t let them bring you down.

I wear knee pads when I ride off-road because I sometimes fall, usually fairly gently, but I have learned it’s just not worth the scrapes & bruises when they can so easily be avoided. I walked to the bank one day and inexplicably tripped and fell rounding the corner. I came back from the bank with bloody knees. Though I get teased about it I don’t now wear knee protection when I go to the bank, but every time I do go I remember that there is risk in all we do, even in the mundane. Even so, I’m not going to stop taking reasonable extracurricular risks, as I try to stay healthy and have fun doing the thing that keeps me so.

You have my blessing to continue living a full life, complete with risk and adventure. As to the naysayers in your life, just treat them like a you would a rude motorist… just smile and wave…