Going up hills whether jogging or biking is a lot like life when you’re facing an “up-hill battle”.  Whether it’s something big like a medical trauma, or something small, like figuring out your new updates, once again, on your phone.

Going up hills on a bike or jogging requires the same qualities when facing life’s hills.

Here’s what I learned to go up hills with more grace and resilience.


As soon as I begin the ascent my mind begins to become more in the sensations of my body. My body starts to become more stressed and have more pain.  I become very present to my breathing and my legs.  I have to focus on the effort I am exerting on the climb.

If I were with someone else, we would cease to talk, again staying very present to our bodies, to our breathing. 

This is true for any of the mindfulness practices.  They all start out with bringing you to the body, getting grounded in the present movement, stopping the “monkey mind’.

When dealing with up an uphill situation in life, bringing mindfulness will allow you to be more grounded and present to the real situation at hand. To your emotions, to the monkey mind of what-if’s and connected to the things you can control and to let go of those you have no control over.  maintain connection to your authentic true self.


Back off on the tension

While biking up a hill I lower the tension of the chain and downshift.  If I’m jogging I have to back off on my stride, ease up on the amount of road I cover.

What a great analogy to what happens when we’re in an uphill life situation.  Ease up on yourself and the amount of productivity you feel may be necessary. 

Take care of yourself more than you take care of others at this time.

I move slower.

Because I’m easing off of tension, I have to move slower.  I used to try and go faster so I could get done with the hill faster, but someone wiser than me suggested that it wasn’t necessary to keep the same pace as when we’re moving on level ground. 

I smile more.

This was a trick I learned from a young lady who was a competitive runner in college. She played with the idea of smiling when running, especially during sprints when it was the most painful for her body.  She started to run faster and even started to win more in the competitions.

So guess what I do when I train, running one minute up a rather severe hill?

Yep, I smile.

The first time I tried this I remembered the second time up, but just at the end (or the top) and was 2 seconds faster.

The third time up the hill I remembered to smile just a little sooner and I was 4 seconds faster.

The last time up the hill I began smiling half way up and I was 6 seconds faster. 

So when going through a rough patch in life, it feels like an uphill battle, remember to smile.


I Increase My Capacities.

Running and biking up hills increases my lung and muscle capacity and I become physically stronger.  Way more than running or biking on level ground.  Just like in life, we don’t grow emotionally or expand our belief and our thinking when things are going smooth. 

I hope life is smooth sailing for you right now, but if not maybe you could try one of these tips and see if it helps.

Connie M. Warden


Speaker, Acupuncturist, Lifestyle Coach