Barrington doctor makes his commute a healthy cycle of life

Barrington doctor makes his commute a healthy cycle of life

Remember the feeling you experienced when you learned to ride a bike – the excitement, the sense of freedom? Dr. Michael Fox hasn’t lost that enthusiasm.

Dr. Fox, an anesthesiologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., rides his bike from his South Barrington home to the hospital about three days each week from April through October. Each 45-minute, one-way ride is a little more than 12 miles, providing both physical and mental benefits, including increased energy, improved sleep and decreased stress.

“Before I started exercising on a regular basis, I used to get stress headaches all the time, but once I started riding my bike, they went away,” Dr. Fox says. “Bike riding helps me relax and feel less anxious overall.”

Riding an average of 16 miles per hour, Dr. Fox burns about 1,225 calories for each round-trip workout, based on bicycling.com’s calorie calculator. Usually, he burns even more calories because he often tacks a few miles onto his trip home.

To stay fit from late fall through winter, Dr. Fox adds cross-country skiing, roller skiing, swimming and weightlifting to his exercise routine. Regardless of the time of year, he tries to maintain healthy eating habits, loading up on fruits and veggies while avoiding meat and saturated fats.

“I eat five or more servings of fruit a day, and although it’s hard to fill up on vegetables, I try to eat as many as I can,” he says.

When hunger strikes, Dr. Fox is prepared.

“If I’m really hungry, I try to eat something healthy first, usually a handful of nuts,” he says.

Dr. Fox offers these tips to anyone considering stepping up their bike-riding routine.

  • Wear a helmet
  • Make sure your bike is in good working condition and fits you properly
  • Make sure you are visible, especially if you ride at night

“I wear a construction vest with reflective tape and fasten flashing lights onto my bicycle so drivers can see me when it’s dark,” he says.

His final tip: Enjoy yourself.

“I recommend riding a bike to anyone who can balance on two wheels,” he says. “I think we all can benefit from a little fresh air and sunshine.”

For him, biking isn’t just a way to get exercise or combat boredom; it also helps him reconnect with the environment and himself.

“Even now, I still get excited to ride my bike the same way I did as a kid.”

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Comments

One Comment

  1. I ride my bike every day on my 45 minute break instead of going to the lunch room! I love getting outside to enjoy the exercise and the scenery. Luckily I have the Fox river bike path close to my work.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.