Monday, January 26, 2009

Effect of long distance biking on my blood pressure

before biking

immediately after biking

one hour after biking

Today, I biked from Davao to Tagum and back. This is part of my preparation for the Bike for Hope initiated by Senator Pia Cayetano this coming Saturday. (I got an invitation from her to lead the prayer and participate in the event on Jan. 31).
It took me 5 hours and 30 minutes to cover 104 km. It's been 7 months since I did some long distance biking so I just pedaled at a very relaxed pace averaging 20 km per hour. It was a very wonderful ride - I just enjoyed the feeling of the wind caressing my face. Time went by so quickly. It was a moving meditation - zen on a bike. I imagined myself biking around the Philippines once again. Biking for many hours (or even days) is one of the activities that I enjoy most. For me, there is no such thing as the loneliness of the long-distance biker or runner.
Before the ride I measured my blood pressure: 138/89 (that's a bit high) and my heart rate (50 beats per minute). Immediately after biking I measured it again: 104/56! That's incredibly low. After an hour it was 119/62. Long-distance biking (as well as long-distance running) has an unusual effect on my blood pressure. Instead of going up, it goes down. I once asked my cardiologist about this and he told me that there are two reasons. The first is that because it is a very relaxing activity for me, my blood pressure goes down (meditation has a similar effect). The other reason is that my blood produces more nitric oxide when I do long-distance exercise and so my blood become thinner and vessels expand. The lesson is clear. I can cure my hypertension with out medication. All I need to do is to meditate and exercise. The longer the better. That's why I am no longer dependent on my hypertension pills. I haven't taken them for a long time.

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