Supporting the community is an important part of GMHBA’s ethos. Which is why we were proud to have to a group of GMHBA employees recently participate in the 2018 Murray to Moyne bike ride to help raise funds for the Western District Health Service.
The Western District Health Service
GMHBA were riding this year for the Western District Health Service. The WDHS have a long history of supporting the health of Victorians and do fantastic work in the regional communities of the Western District.
The decision to support the WDHS was in part due to the fact that the Murray to Moyne rides through many of the regions that they support but primarily the GMHBA team’s fundraising efforts were to support the $1.8 million redevelopment of the Cancer Treatment and Dialysis facility at the Hamilton Base Hospital.
Anyone who has ever had need of one of these facilities knows how important they are and in regional areas that importance is even greater. It can be an incredibly stressful time for families so saving them from hassles like travel and extended periods away from loved ones can make a world of difference. It’s a cause we’re very proud to support.
The Murray to Moyne
The Murray to Moyne has been running for over 30 years and is a distance bike ride that runs all the way though western Victoria, ending in Port Fairy on the Sunday. All funds raised are to support Hospital and Health Services throughout the state, with the larger goal of teaching people about the amazing health benefits of riding a bike.
Riding for wellbeing
One thing that makes riding such a good exercise is that it’s accessible. Because once you learn, you never forget. It’s also a low impact activity that means the risk of injuries and strains are lower compared to other forms of exercise.
Our resident riding machine Steve D’Andrea was helpful enough to offer us his favourite health benefits and tips for riding.
“I do it for two reasons, first is for my fitness and secondly it’s one of those good mental things. You’re either out on your own or you’re out socialising. So I make sure to do a mixture of bunch rides and solo efforts.”
If you’re looking to increase your stamina and overall strength, road cycling is just about the best way to do it. It’s a rare sport in the sense that you can ride for hours at a constant pace, continually working out your muscles but at a manageable level that can be sustained.
And riding isn’t always road biking. You can get a very different exercise from different forms like mountain biking or gravel riding.
According to Steve “Mountain biking takes a lot more concentration. With road riding you can wander off in your mind, it’s great therapy more than anything else. Whereas mountain biking is different in that you don’t think of anything else. You’re just concentrating on the next rock or the next tree.”
And like many sports, the social aspect matters. For most of us who balk at the thought of waking up at 4:30, a riding group can be a fantastic motivator.
“There are some days where you wake up, it’s cold and miserable and you could quite easily roll over. But if you’ve got people who are waiting for you, you actually make that effort.”
For anyone who’s thinking of taking up cycling or wanting to take it more seriously here are Steve’s top tips for getting involved.
1. Get out there.
The easiest thing to do is to turn over and say it’s too hard. Starting any new activity, whether it’s exercise or not, takes a bit of a push. But once you take that first step, and once you’re in the habit of getting up and riding, there’s nothing easier.
2. Get the right equipment.
Cycling is certainly a sport where having good equipment can make a big difference. A key benefit Steve highlights is the ability to measure your riding. If you have stats and data it’s easy to create goals for yourself, which just makes getting out there that much easier.
3. Make sure you enjoy it.
Cycling might not be for you. Some people like going to the gym, some people like playing footy. But there are plenty of things to love about riding a bike, and more than the health benefits. Steve’s personal love is catching the sunrise each morning. Like with anything as long you enjoy it, the rest will work itself out.
If you’d like to support the Western District Health Service and all the wonderful work that they do please head to GMHBA’s mycause page.