It's taking more and more convincing to drag myself out of bed these days.
The mornings are getting darker, the temperature of the house's wooden floors are slowly dropping, making it all the more unenjoyable when I swing my legs off the bed and make contact with the chilly surface.
With a growing regret that the snooze button wasn't pushed for the fifth time, I slowly start fulfilling the basic requirements of a civilised human appearance before I wander out the door, strap on my helmet and start the 10-minute bike ride into the office.
I know we are barely out of summer and the colder mornings are yet to come, but the cool blast of fresh air flying down State Highway One is a great way to start the day.
Now, this 10-minute ride isn't going to set me up for any triathlons and by the actions of some Northland's drivers, it's got a higher chance of ending my life than lengthening it. But I do it because it's that shot of adrenaline and energy I need to keep the spirits high throughout the day.
I saw a lot of these smiles at the relaunch of Achilles NZ on Sunday as a crew of about 20 people with and without a disability, took off around the Hatea Loop on a crisp, sunny Northland morning.
I want to clarify I do not have a disability and I won't pretend to understand how hard or easy it is to participate in something like this, especially with the range of physical and mental disabilities and the effects they can have.
But the environment I saw walking along the water as people smiled and laughed as they wandered around the loop was one of real joy and friendship. One that wasn't about pushing your physical limits, but just about getting off the couch and getting outside.
That's what Achilles NZ is really pushing for with the opening of a Whangārei chapter. It's not just about those people who want to run great distances or beat their personal bests. It's simply a way for people of all abilities to connect over a cup of coffee after a nice, Sunday morning stroll.
Statistics from two studies, an Active NZ survey in 2017 and the Disability Active Recreation and Sport survey in 2018, showed the numbers and motivations behind how people with and without disabilities exercise.
They showed that disabled people participate significantly less in physical activity, particularly among adults where more than a third of disabled adults did not participate in active recreation and sport.
Cited as chief barriers of participation for people with disabilities was their health, they were injured or they lacked fitness. They also cited fatigue and no motivation as high contributors to their low exercise rate.
Now, people with physical or mental disabilities would probably have scoffed at the start of this story. I wouldn't blame them for thinking that I couldn't understand how easy I have it and that getting out of the bed in the morning can be someone's greatest achievement, not something to be belittled.
But what I can speak to is how good it feels to get out there and the relief you feel doing something as simple as walking around the Hatea Loop. I would guess it's even more satisfactory to get out and be active, in spite of any physical or mental features that are holding you back.
It's time to turn those statistics around and see more people with disabilities becoming more active in Northland. I urge you to wander along to the town basin early on a Sunday morning where you find people who will give you the motivation and the confidence to take the first step towards a more active lifestyle.