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26 MIN READ TIME

“Bikes make me happy”

When I was three years old my parents got me a wonderful, metallic-green trike. It had red stickers dotted on either side and big black handlebars, wide enough for me to wedge my teddy bear between. You couldn’t separate me from it, though it wasn’t long before I had my eye on my older sister’s BMX. I knew I wanted one just like it, and when I did get one, aged seven, I was of riding around the estate we lived on – I’m still there – in Newham, East London. Just me and my friends out exploring and having fun. Then, when I was about 18, I just… stopped.

As I got older, I started to feel like something was missing, and it was relecting on those happy childhood memories that made me realise it was freedom. A freedom I got from cycling. At the same time, I also wanted to feel healthier, mentally and physically, so, aged 28, I signed up for my employer’s cycle to work scheme [which provides tax incentives to make buying a bike for commuting more afordable] and bought a Pashley Princess – a traditional bike with a big basket. The idea was to use it for a gentle commute to work; go on social rides with my partner, Ian, who’s into cycling; and visit some of my favourite places around London. But the Pashley would take me on a quite diferent journey – starting a successful blog, taking part in road-cycling events, becoming an activist and even riding around a velodrome. Back then, I had a typical sedentary lifestyle, and the irst few times I went out were tough. I felt like my lungs were going to burst, even though I wasn’t pushing myself especially hard, and if I went uphill, I’d really feel it in my legs and chest. But I soon found a pace I was comfortable with and noticed improvements to my itness. I’ve had asthma since I was seven but that started to ease, and my pace and stamina increased. There were changes beyond itness, too. I live with anxiety and depression, which can make me introverted, but cycling brought me out of my shell. It was a combination of being able to ride out my thoughts, and how easy it was to make new friends and socialise when you’re out on a bike – especially at the cycling cafés. You have this thing in common, a conversation starts and the next thing, you’re making plans to meet for a ride. Things got more serious, and a positive, butterly efect happened.

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About Healthy Magazine

Introducing the brand new healthy! We’ve got a fresh new look and have spruced up our content, including challenging new franchises, a dedicated vegan section and inspiring real life stories. Our central theme this issue is mental wellbeing – a challenge that doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, even as we are getting better at talking about it. Hopefully our ‘safe space’ is just that – somewhere you can explore and develop your own mental health. We’ve also investigated the gender disparity in football, explored the growing (though illegal) trend of microdosing, and chatted to chef turned wellness advocate Lorraine Pascale about her own mental wellbeing journey. Plus, we’ve brought in an expert panel to review all our content, ensuring you’re getting the very best and latest health, fitness, food, beauty and wellness advice. Find all this and more in the new issue of healthy

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Other Articles in this Issue


IN EVERY ISSUE
You’ll have seen from our cover that we’re sporting
Every issue we work with our leading experts in the fields of health, wellbeing, natural beauty, fitness and nutrition to review our magazine and ensure our content is balanced. Here they share what they keep in their self-care toolkits
Write, email, tweet, Facebook or Instagram us – we love to hear from you!
HEALTHY START
Women are used to being told their age might impact
MENTAL WELLBEING
We already know that phones before bed can ruin sleep, but what other big impacts might your mobile be having on your wellbeing? Over 1000 of you completed our survey, and the results make for some interesting discussion
As an interviewee, Lorraine Pascale is tricky. Not
Our sense of happiness and wellbeing can get caught up in things beyond our control and change overnight. That’s why it’s useful – wherever you’re at – to have a personalised plan: a set of prompts and goals that remind you of the things that make you happy and provide a treasure map showing you how to get back there when you’re not. Here’s how it works…
Why do we find ourselves feeling totally overwhelmed, seemingly out of the blue, and how can we return to equilibrium?
Taking controlled doses of psychedelic substances could be the answer to anxiety and low mood for some people, as well as a way of seeing life differently, says clinical psychologist Dr Rosalind Watts, who would like to see them legalised
Holistic Herb is the CBD brand you can trust, offering quality products with high absorption rates
CLINIC
You’re prepared for traveller’s tum and swimming pool ear. So here’s a checklist of the travel health essentials you haven’t considered
It could help with everything from mental health to obesity. healthy explores the reasons for swapping poo, and looks at why stools are having a moment in the spotlight
The ongoing trend for piercings means we’ve never given so much thought to our ears. But how much do you really know about yours? And are you looking after them properly?
From helping skin health to managing the menopause, EPO is a herbal remedy being taken seriously by the scientific community
The new studies and stats you need to know about
Might a centuries-old meditation technique eliminate stress and anxiety, protect your brain and lessen pain?
Dr Ranj Singh splits his time between working as an NHS pediatric doctor in A&E, and appearing as an expert on TV. He also famously donned his dancing shoes for Strictly Come Dancing in 2018
ACTIVE
As the Women’s World Cup brings the female game back into focus, so too comes the question of the gender disparity in our national game. Is equality too much to ask?
Cycling activist and author, Jools Walker, 36, explains how big life changes happened for her when she got back in the saddle
Thousands of free outdoor gyms have popped up, but are you making the most of yours? PT Luisa Valenti, founder of the Your Body Programme and healthy’s new fitness expert, provides the ultimate circuit whatever your level
Team sports, ball sports, fun on the courts. Whatever you’re up to, here’s a round-up of the best kit for social sportswomen
Many of us take our social skills for granted – but sometimes we need a little extra help to boost our bonds with others. Say hello to the new breed of sociable retreats
The Ironman champion reveals the secrets behind her success
FOOD
It’s the health food that can save the world – so long as we manage it carefully
Whether you’re at the park or just in the garden, these recipes will make your picnic special
It’s more versatile than you realise, and can help give you a healthy energy boost – plus it tastes delicious. Here’s how to capitalise on that tin in your store cupboard
Expert regularly name it the healthiest diet in the world, so enjoy these vibrant, fresh, modern Greek recipes by Theo A Michaels, taken from his book Orexi!
Often overlooked as simply a side, peas are rich in vitamins and packed with protein. So this summer, give peas a chance
These minimum fuss, maximum results recipes use clever tricks to help fuel any camper. Fresh bread and home-made scones can be yours even if you’re in the middle of nowhere, says Phoebe Smith
Trendy restaurants might be charging as much for cauliflower steak as the traditional kind, but it is definitely possible to be vegan on a teeny budget, says the original £1 chef, Miguel Barclay
The first British chef to appear on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, Asma Khan started out running a supper club from her London home, before turning it into her acclaimed restaurant, Darjeeling Express
BEAUTY
Trust us, you haven’t heard this before. It may be summertime, but when it comes to sun care, school’s still in session – notepads at the ready
Sun been unkind to your skin? Treat it with help from Mother Nature, says consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth
Inspired by vegan skincare and ‘clean’ cosmetics, perfume makers are embracing plant-based blends with mood-boosting benefits
BALANCE
In moments of distress, it’s not just kids who need a comforter – here’s how you too can benefit from having a few selfsoothers in your back pocket
We know instinctively being in nature feels good, but it’s so deep-rooted in the Nordic lifestyle, there’s a name for it – friluftsliv. Here’s how to do it
When Lizzie Carr beat a tough cancer diagnosis it led her to see the world differently