Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment. Thomas Carlyle

Dear Reader,

Exercise is an excellent confidence booster. I can remember when I’ve first started cycling in my late forties, I could barely made it for more than 500m. I can still remember in the beginning how much I’ve struggled getting up the hills. Many times, I have asked myself: “Why am I doing this?” when I had to stop to catch my breath and ease the burning feeling in my muscles.

But I persevered – and as I eventually started seeing some progress, it became much easier to stay motivated. The best way to progress is to compete against yourself. In the beginning I didn’t aim for faster, but for more.

So gradually I’ve built form a mere 500m, to my current personal maximum of 48km. As time goes by, you can see how you grow stronger. All those hills that you have to rest 2-3 times, you can ride now without stopping. But it is not a breeze yet – you still feel the burn in your muscles – this is how it actually burns calories and grow stronger – but you know you’ve conquered this hill before. And you know you can do it again.

Some of the not-so-steep hills, actually do become easy. But you create your own challenge by gearing-up and making it harder again.  Eventually standing-up on the hills makes you feel like an amateur again. This uses different muscles and consumes a lot of energy.

Interval training also makes you stronger – doing a fast sprint and riding slow and relaxed again.

Finding the perfect cadence is what enables you to do longer rides – you find a tempo and rhythm that you can sustain – optimizing your energy use. This is what I like the best. A long level road, with only a few not very steep hills – just riding at an ease pace – makes me feel like I am queen of the world!

Exercise takes a lot of hard work and dedication. And every milestone boosts your confidence. So, when everything else in your life fails, you can still have confidence because of everything you have accomplished through exercise.

And the discipline and perseverance you used to stick to your exercise routine, you can also apply to overcome everyday life and its many challenges.

Do you need a confidence boost? Start exercising today – stick with it – and within a few months you will be amazed at what you have accomplished!

Thanks for reading.

Susan

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