After being diagnosed with high cholesterol five years ago, Obakeng Sebolai (33) decided to hop on a bike and ride to reduce his risks for developing future heart disease. Sebolai is the co-founder of the Galeshewe Cycling Club in Kimberley, a collective of cycling enthusiasts on a mission to better the health of their community.
Riding a bike was the answer for Sebolai in his pursuit to improve his health without medication, future procedures, and the mountains of paperwork. He tells Health For Mzansi, “I was diagnosed with cholesterol and my doctor told me that I had to do something because my cholesterol was too high.”
Sebolai says that cycling has many benefits and can help to protect you from serious illnesses such as stroke, heart disease, depression, obesity, and arthritis.
“Cycling just happened to be the perfect cardio. A friend told me let’s do something like cycling and said that he had a bike for me, so my passion started there for bikes. And I saw a big improvement in terms of my health. I am very happy that I decided to do cycling.”
Passion sparks a movement
To share his newfound love for the high intensity sport, Sebolai founded the Galeshewe Cycling Club alongside fellow enthusiast Motheo Seleke in 2021.
“It [Galeshewe Cycling Club] is for the community, we are trying to serve the community through the cycling club, we aree trying to make people aware of health issues, illness,” says Sebolai.
Due to lack of funding, the club operates from the Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley.
While the cycling club is open to all ages, it is especially youth focused. Youth can benefit from taking their health seriously while they are still young in order avoid future illness, Sebolai believes.
“Cycling helps with your skills, it helps with your thinking, it helps in future to decrease many diseases like diabetes, heart attacks certain cancers.”
‘Sometimes we need to wear blinkers’
When it comes to our health there is no secret sauce or magic trick that you can pull out of a hat. Prioritise health instead of chasing unrealistic body goals. “Sometimes we need to wear blinkers and focus on the ride.
“I do what works for me,” says Sebolai. “You will see in the process what works for you. I have no secret sauce, I listen to my body, it is about what your body can do. It starts with you, what you want to achieve and what your body can achieve.”
How to stay motivated
If you have found it challenging to keep motivated and stick to your goals, you are not alone, says Sebolai. His trick is to motivate himself and engage in a little self-talk.
“I motivate myself every day when I wake up, I do a lot of self-talk and tell myself that I must do this, because of my health. If you motivate yourself, it helps a lot just wake up in the morning. It is up to you and what you think will benefit you.”
From a cyclists perspective he adds that motivation is all in your own mind. “What motivated me is seeing elderly cyclists riding. Seeing these older people shows you that health is fundamental.”
Sebolai shares his four quick tips for nutrition:
- Always consult your doctor: You should always consult with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement; beginning any diet, nutrition or fitness plan; or adopting any treatment for a health problem.
- A fruit a day is beneficial: Fruits are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, and they are high in fibre.
- Vegetables and grains can do wonders for your health: “Grains and veggies are easier to digest.”
- Keep meats white and lean: White meats are lower in calories, he advises.