Tuesday, May 5, 2009

slouching and perfect circles

I wonder why it's so hard for us humans to do what is best for ourselves.
  • why it seems easier to frown when it takes fewer muscles to smile: and smiles ease our way through life.
  • why slouching comes naturally and holding our spine erect seems to take so much effort: and erect spines lead to healthy nerve systems, efficient organs, and joints, muscles and ligaments that are given opportunity to perform as intended.
  • why it's more fun to eat cookies than kale. okay, that one's a no-brainer, never mind.
  • and why, when cycling, it seems easier to do anything but maintain perfect circles.
perfect circles.
these are the things my cycling instructors have drummed into my head: relax your shoulders, keep a bend in the elbows, drop your heels, eyes on the road in front of you, and keep those perfect circles.
this is what they mean: as your leg moves around with the turn of the crank arm attached to the pedal, you should be exerting equal amounts of energy throughout the rotation. pushing forward and eventually down with your quad, then flexing your ankle to create a flat foot and pulling up with your hamstring during the back part of the circle.
got it?
ideally, your leg moves through this sequence without pause or variation in effort.
in reality, my leg gets lazy and makes effort-ellipses with each rotation.
just like slouching, it happens before I realize it's happening, and I have to snap myself back to attention.
like I just did, pulling out of my slouch here at the computer desk.
after I ate my cookie.
and changed my frown to a smile.

this is my cycling self-chant: shoulders down, relax facial muscles, smile at oncoming cyclist, focus on road, perfect circles, straighten back.
hard to believe I have time to think about anything else, isn't it?

it's the effort-ellipses that I really need to work on, though. because once you get back into the rhythm of the perfect circle, you can feel the difference. power increases immediately, and the experts tell us that you are expending no more energy to do it correctly than you are with those wimpy elliptical surges. which I have a difficult time believing.
because if it takes the same amount of energy either way, why do I slip back into the pattern that feels easier?
like slouching?
and frowning?
and eating cookies?

what's wrong with me?

the conclusion I draw is that it's all a mind game.
I just need to train my mind to believe that it's easier to sit up straight, smile, and make perfect circles.

and eat kale.

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