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YOU RUST OUT QUICKER THAN YOU WEAR OUT

                               

It has been said that the real tragedy of life is the fact that our mind is often capable of far outliving the body!  Our physical body is really the only thing that we truly own other than our thoughts, and yet this one real possession is often carelessly neglected and abused.  A quote that caught my attention recently was “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger!”  This rings true for many of us who take better care of our lawns and automobiles than we do of ourselves.  We have become a nation of passive watchers rather than doers, with our remote clickers, drive lawnmowers, and other labor saving devices too numerous to list.  The number one cause of death in Americans is cardiovascular failure or heart attacks.  Obesity is also epidemic with entire industries springing up in an effort to combat it.  Fat farms, diet this and diet that, lypo-suction, diet books, specialty magazines, TV workout shows, Fitness Video Tapes, Aerobic step programs, and the list goes on!           

Coupled with this inactive lifestyle and our attempts to deal with it, we have another major negative factor that plagues nearly all of us.  That is “Stress” and it is at an all time high with fast paced schedules that push us to the limit.  Corporations have been “re-engineered”, which really translates into doing more with less by everyone.  We have both parents working, or worse yet, an increasing number of single parents that are overworking and all are barely staying even on the treadmill of life!  Our minds are information overloaded with e-mails, voicemails, pages, cellular calls,  and “data” that wonderful by-product of the computer!   
         

To effect a solution, we must first remember that after all we are first and foremost an “animal” according to Emerson, and we must be the “best” animal that we can be!  We have been thrust into this lifestyle by the very brain that we have been given, but we must use our intelligence to manage progress and to not let it run us, nor ruin us.  Of all the things that you have in your control, the most important is the basic human machine that is your only possession.   Take care of it, it will take care of you, and moreover, your quality of life will improve dramatically! 
         

How will your quality of life improve?  To begin with you will begin to have more energy almost immediately.  Amazingly, with exercise one  actually gets back more than is put into it.  With a healthy physical being you are able to tolerate more stress and to actually relieve stress while exerting yourself.  Physical exercise, particularly if it is aerobic and sustained, is the method that I am personally most familiar with.  With all of the factors mentioned above, running is my recommended solution to better health and a longer life.  Running provides the maximum workout in the shortest period of time and produces a sustained aerobic challenge to the cardiovascular system.  Furthermore, running does not require a partner, a reserved court, nor fancy equipment.  It also can be done almost anywhere and at a time that is convenient to your schedule.  Studies have shown however, that 80% of morning runners stay with it while only 20% of after work runners do.   This is because there are far fewer things that can conflict with an early morning run which allows the habit to become formed.  Another advantage of running in the morning is that it sets a very positive mood and attitude for the whole day.  You have a “Can Do” attitude after a sustained run that is the result of the high you get from the epinephrine “survival hormone” that your body produces when under a physical stress.  This is sometimes called the runner’s high and it is addictive!  
         

With running, you will also find that your thinking will become clearer with an increase in creative thoughts.  The clear thinking is attributed to the greatly increased oxygen flow to the brain and the creativity is due to the natural and measurable increase in  Beta brain waves  according to studies.  I also have found once you get beyond the initial aches and pain stages of running as your body adapts, you get to a meditation stage where you are able to sort out thoughts and problems with no distractions.  Before I started running, I never seemed to find time to stop and reflect on my inner most thoughts because I was too busy going through all the paces of everyday life!
         

Moreover, you will find that your clothes begin to fit better, and that food taste better with running.  You will be able to eat more of it as well.  If you run in the early morning, you will see sunrises and hear the first chirping of the birds.  You will also feel less guilty about taking time away from family members as they will most likely be sleeping.  By the way, you will require less sleep, because the sleep that you do get will be deeper and more thoroughly restful.  Another benefit is that you will have far fewer colds and other bouts of the flu.  This has been attributed to the increased temperature that occurs during a run in simulating the fever that is the body’s natural defense against viral infections.  In addition, running greatly reduces the risk of developing coronary disease, and if you should ever have a heart attack, it reduces the risk of it being a fatal one.  It does this by causing you to develop a secondary capillary system around the heart muscle from the stress of running which acts as a backup supplier of blood to the heart should an artery become blocked!    
         

In conclusion, the most positive thing I can say about running is that it makes you feel good about yourself.  You will be changing your life for the better by improving your health, quality of life, and prolonging your life as well!  Your personal health is your responsibility, and the future is in your hands!