Changing my mind about exercise

A year ago I asked a friend the Thiel Question "What is something true almost nobody agrees with you about?"

"I think exercise is important," he said.

"That doesn't count. Everybody agrees exercise is important," I said.

"You don't get it. I think exercise is really important," he said.

My friend was right. I claimed exercise mattered to me but my revealed preferences indicated otherwise.

Fast forward to today. I don't own a car. I can't remember the last time I hired a Lyft. I rarely use public transit. When I want to get somewhere beyond walking distance I bicycle.

My friend calls bicycling his "religion". He thinks it's a preventative treatment for basically everything. I read a few books on health and…he's not wrong. Exercise doesn't just help keep bodyfat in check. It's fundamental for preventing less obvious diseases like chronic inflammation and age-associated mental decline. New research suggests being cold may help treat depression.

Before I bicycled regularly, I was confused by my friend who chose to bicycle for an hour just to meet me somewhere. I felt it was imposing a large cost on him. I now understsand that cyclists bicycle long distances because cycling is pleasurable. Bicyclists make up excuses to get on the road. Bicycling to a useful destination requires zero marginal cost.

Cycling is occasionally a painful gauntlet but usualy it's a pleasant experience of fresh air and endorphins. I get to see lots of wild animals including snakes, eagles, a river seal and a giant beaver. Driving is consistently unpleasant. When I'm in a car I feel like I'm trading life itself for speed which, from a health perspective, I am.