The benefits of exercising with a friend

Wow! What a fab bike ride I’ve had today!

It wasn’t lengthy, it wasn’t a race, nor did it take in our wonderful coastline. It was simply a ride with a friend on the most glorious sunny day in the East Midlands. In fact, we both commented that we couldn’t have chosen a better day for it – the conditions were simply perfect!

My fab friend Emma is something of a mad cyclist, as well as being my editor (wielding her virtual yellow highlighter and red pen across my work), so it was with some trepidation that I headed out with her in the first place. I do have a road bike, but Emma is part of a group who usually ride for miles and miles; as opposed to me with my recent forays reacquainting myself with my bike, which have involved short trips around the village and just beyond. I need not have worried though, as despite disappearing into the distance at times, she waited for me to catch her up. Part of our plan for the ride was to have a good face-to-face catch up – something that a few months ago would have been a very normal thing to do, but has been very tricky for so many of us during the current pandemic.

Being with people is part of what makes us human. That interaction, that communication, that being in someone’s presence to really pick up on their energy, their body language, to spend time in 3D! Zoom meetings and Facetime and Skype and phone calls have of course been a saving grace during this time, but nothing quite matches being with someone in person. And although I have been lucky enough to have my son at home, along with my parents and brother all living locally, having the opportunity to meet up with a good friend after so long was brilliant.

Being able to enjoy time together on our bikes and then stopping, as planned, mid-route for a social distance catch up / business planning meeting was perfect. It was great to see Emma, as I thoroughly enjoy her company, however it was also fantastic to spend time, in person, with someone outside of my family and 2 other close friends, for the first time since lockdown started. I felt truly energised as a result when I arrived back home. As an extrovert, I really do re-energise when I am in company.

In addition to spending time in the company of another friend at long last, getting out on my bike and going further afield than usual was wonderful. Although I exercise regularly, changing my route, taking a different direction, and using a bike rather than my feet, meant that I experienced the world beyond my usual constraints. I revisited locations that I haven’t cycled through in years.

I live on the Nottinghamshire / Leicestershire border and am very fortunate to be surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. As such, most of our route was on small roads, many of which cut though green fields; we only encountered a small number of vehicles – in fact, we probably passed more cyclists!

The weather was truly glorious – the sun was shining, and it was wonderful feeling the warm summer breeze on my body and the sun on my face. By exercising, pushing myself harder than usual (well I did have to keep up with Emma to a degree), and feeling my heart pumping and getting breathless cycling up hills and enjoying the freecycling back down was truly exhilarating.

What better way to combine exercising with a friend, a business meeting and a catch up, all whilst social distancing and enjoying the sunshine in the countryside!

Top Tips

Get out there and walk or ride and talk with a friend – you’re exercising whilst catching up

Embrace the countryside or what bit of greenery you can find nearby – nature is where the good stuff is

Laugh, love life, and live it

Try and do business the same way – I rather think the golfers have been on to something for a long time!