Monday, September 14, 2015

Alphabet of Daily Life - R

R is for Running.

(Yup - I've gone out of Virgo alphabet order - I'm getting a bit wilder as I age!)

For years, I had vaguely heard people talking about the many benefits of running. Their words passed right into and back out of my ears. Running was not something I resonated with. In fact, I had very unpleasant associations with running. 

We had to run as part of our fitness regimen in the Army, and I never liked it. (Read my Army-related posts here: CareersExcitement, Unrequited Love.) One thing I think many people have never taken into consideration (including Army fitness gurus) is that short women / people have short legs and this necessarily gives them a shorter stride. So, it takes shorter people more paces and a longer time to move a specified distance. To require short and tall people to cover the same distance in the same time period is far from fair. We short ones were running double-time ALL THE TIME in order to achieve the same fitness goals. I was always suffering while running with so many tall long-legged fellow soldiers. So, I hated running.

Fast forward 30 years to a time when my daughter was in college. She had gained the infamous Freshman 15, and wanted to do something about it. She'd heard of the Couch Potato to 5K running regimen and wanted to try it. She asked if I'd do it with her and I really didn't want to. But, I did want to support my daughter in any way she needed. So, I completed the program with her. I liked it. I was able to do it. And, at the end of it, I just kept running. And I'm still running today. In fact, I'm a running evangelist.

Here's what running gives me:
  • Stress Reduction - it's amazing how much more mellow I am after I've run, and this feeling lasts for several days. It's a great way to deal with the stress at work. Whenever things go wrong, I just go for a run.
  • Muscle Tone - for someone my age, my legs are looking pretty good! In fact, running works so many areas of the body - butt, abs, arms. It's a great workout that leads to smooth toned muscles.
  • Youthfulness - people actually tell me I'm glowing. Yeah, how great is that?! It must be the enhanced circulation that keeps all of the body's cells refreshed. People usually guess my age as 10 years younger than I actually am. And, of course, the added energy that comes from running adds to the sense of youthfulness.
  • Weight Maintenance - I find that when I don't run for awhile, the pounds slowly start piling up. But, if I run (I typically do 3 miles, 3-4 times per week), I can maintain or even lower my weight. Of course, I also eat lots of vegetables, eat very little junk food, and drink TONS of water.
  • Ongoing Fitness - there's a feeling of confidence that you walk around with when you know your body is in shape. You know that it can do anything you ask it to - climb stairs, go hiking, ice skate - whatever. And, you know that this fitness means clothes look good on you. It's just a general all-around good feeling.
What took me so long? Who knew!

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