'I don't do sports. I cycle to work' - Wouter van Helvoort
Wouter van Helvoort, Employeneur with TMC New Product Introduction, shares why he doesn't do sports but still manages to keep fit.
During a recent NPI Q-meeting our cell director Maarten shared his enthusiasm about increasing the vitality of the Employeneurs in his business cell. He was looking for ways to stimulate healthy behavior of his Employeneurs.
Apparently there are lots of people who enjoy sweating, getting tired and stuff like that. Because immediately my colleagues started suggesting going on runs together, or long hikes, or obstacle courses, maybe raising money for a charity or something like that. Since I didn’t want to rain on their parade, I stayed silent. Afterwards in the bar however, I mentioned to Maarten that no matter which sport would be chosen, I wouldn’t be joining. Of course I had a story to back this up…
A long time ago, back when my student housing was a few hundred meters from the town hall square in Eindhoven, I spent quite a bit of time riding BMX Flatland there. I never was any good at it, but I had a lot of fun with it. But since I have started working, the BMX is in the garage. I would only have to get it out, pump up the tires and cycle only 650 meters to our local skatepark. I don't need to sign up anywhere or arrange something with someone somewhere. I don't need to buy clothes or other apparel. And I am completely free to do this any time that might suit my schedule. Yet I have done this exactly 0 times.
I have a busy schedule. Between spending time with my daughters, wife, friends and family and spending time on my amateur photography, there is not much time left for anything else. Sports are just not fun enough for me that I will bump any of these other things down the list of priorities. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
I have chosen another way. In past jobs, I wasn't exactly living next to my work place. In fact, in six years’ time, I drove over 260.000 km in my own car. So I decided to change that. At first I combined travelling by train and by bike. After we moved our family back to the South and I started working for TMC, I have eliminated the train-part as well. Of course, working on secondment, I am not sure whether my next assignment will be at a reasonable biking distance. But for now, it's roughly eight km from home. Perfect for cycling! I can ride this distance in roughly half an hour. By car it would take 20 minutes on a good day, 45 on a busy and/or rainy day.
Cycling to work means that I get half an hour of exercise twice a day that doesn't really cost me any appreciable amount of time. I haven’t changed anything else in my life, but this simple thing really changed my appearance. At first I lost 5 kg and could tighten my belt two holes further. Since then, I regained the 5 kg, but kept the belt position – to my own astonishment, it seems that I have gained muscles! As a nice bonus, each morning I get to enjoy nature and the beautiful morning light!
PS: As for the helmet in the action-selfie above: a while ago, my (then) 3-year old asked me why she needed a helmet and I didn't. I had no valid answer and I did want her to wear one.