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!
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!