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How Cycling Changed My Perspective of Exercise

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

In my family, like many, it is natural to be put into sports from the earliest time possible. I started taking a dance class when I was 3-years-old, was put into T-ball when I was 5, and throughout grades K-12 I participated in softball, basketball, volleyball, cheer, track and field, and golf. I always went to practice and always ran the drills. I always loved the social aspect of these activities, but I never particularly enjoyed the action of doing them. It was just something that my friends were doing and it filled my time. Even as I started high school and wanted to work out because it seemed so cool and fun-looking on all the TikToks that I had watched, I found I did not enjoy it. I loved the thought of it, but actually going to the gym and doing multiple reps of the same workout over and over again was not for me. These workouts having no immediate result was not doing it for my brain, which needs instant gratification. Even cute gym sets and listening to my hype Spotify playlist was not enough to persuade me to continue going. 


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I was at a loss when I came to Boulder. I wanted to stay active and healthy throughout college, but I did not know where to start. I heard that the Rec Center here on campus was amazing, but the thought of checking in out was intimidating. 

Luckily, one of the friends that I made here was also interested in trying out a new form of exercise and we thought it would be better to tackle this scary event together. We kept watch of the Rec’s Instagram and tried to find a fun activity to attend. After a couple of weeks, we found the PERFECT thing for us. The Rec was hosting a cycling class that changed themes every week. That week it was Taylor Swift themed. As two girls who are die-hard Swifties and are always trying to recreate the pure adrenaline and rush of excitement we got while attending the Eras Tour, we were ready to go. 

We showed up early so we could purchase our fitness passes and get to the class  5 minutes before it was supposed to start. In hindsight, we should have planned better and showed up earlier on Taylor Swift night. The place was packed. My friend and I took the last two bikes. Unfortunately, they were separated–one in the very back, far corner, and the other one in the front row, directly in front of the instructor. Taking one for the team, I sat in the front. Although I was not familiar with cycling at all and was sitting in a more noticeable area, I had a great time! Listening to great music, doing an exercise that did not make me feel close to death, and still made me feel like it was doing something for me was a dream come true. 

The leader of the class was very cheerful and uplifting, making sure you were comfortable no matter what your skill level was. Having someone that was there to guide you through your exercise but also wouldn’t keep their sole attention on you was a dream come true for me. Then, during the second class I went to I came to a realization. During the whole hour that I was at this class there was not one time that I thought about any of my homework, future commitments, or the million emails that had been sent to me telling me I HAD to attend this event or my life would be over.

My whole life, I had heard about people finding comfort in exercise, or that they would go to the gym to clear their mind. Another thing that everyone talks about is a runner’s high. I had never experienced anything like this. When I went to the gym, I would find myself almost bored and wishing the time would go by faster. When I would go for a run I would not find myself refreshed or having any level of “euphoric feelings.” The closest thing I found to that was being annoyed that I was so tired and wishing it was over so I could go watch Euphoria. 

While I was cycling, I only thought of the music and what I was doing right then in the moment. After it was finished I felt proud of myself at having  accomplished something good for myself. I finally understood what everyone was talking about while they tortured themselves with running, leg presses, or lifting weights for hours a day. 

What I learned was that I could feel that excitement for exercise that everyone else seemed to have. I just needed to try all of the different options. If one workout is not for you, try something different. There is likely something out there that will make you want to be active. If you really want to exercise but hate what you are currently doing, try something new. You might surprise yourself.

Ava O'Brien

CU Boulder '27

Ava O'Brien is a freshman and a contributing writer at the Her Campus Chapter of the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is looking forward to writing profiles on different local businesses and covering varying topics included in pop culture while including her own personal thoughts and experiences. Aside from working as a part of Her Campus, Ava is majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Real Estate. She has loved writing for the majority of her life and enjoyed doing Yearbook in junior high and high school while working as the copy editor in high school. While mainly working on fictional pieces for herself in her free time, she is now looking forward to expanding her knowledge of writing articles and doing profiles on individuals and businesses. Ava is originally from Kansas and loves being able to see the mountains every morning. Traveling is a big passion of hers and she wishes to visit all seven continents in her life. She also loves reading all the romance tropes out there, going to concerts, finding new and exciting activities to do with her friends, spending too much money on her shopping trips, and hyper fixating on whatever her hobby of the week is.