Yesterday afternoon I headed over to my gym for a yoga class. (Yes, I did find my way back to yoga despite this.) I know you’re supposed to be all focused inward and stuff, but I can’t help it…my mind wanders and I start looking around. There was a woman a few feet away from me who looked to be in her 40s and in really good shape, but for some reason she didn’t seem to be able to do some pretty basic yoga poses.
I was intrigued.
After watching her through much of the class I came to a conclusion. The bad joints, inflexibility, and lean muscle mass were a dead give away: She’s a runner.
I have a pathological hatred of running. I don’t mean running to catch a bus, or in a soccer game, or to save yourself from the zombie hoards… I hate running for the sake of running. And when you run too much, you end up like that lady in yoga, with knee problems and back problems that keep you from doing the same yoga moves as the elderly man two mats over.
I’ve always been a fan of exercises that do double duty. Back in the day I used to kickbox several times a week. You got your cardio and your strength and toning exercises all into one awesome hour. And you got to learn how to beat the crap out of potential attackers as an added bonus. But really good kickboxing classes are few and far between, and they’re expensive. So I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. You might think that would mean I go jog around the neighborhood, but I don’t… because running is for suckers.
Sure, it might burn more calories but it also jacks up your knees and tweaks your joints. So I walk…quite a lot. Hell, half the reason I got a dog was so that I’d have to get up and go for a walk every day. I hike with her as often as I can, and since my favorite trail has a lot of slow inclines and a few steep rocks faces that need to be scampered up, my butt gets a good workout.
Walking five miles a day or more as Sardinian shepherds do provides all the cardiovascular benefits you might expect, and also has a positive effect on muscle and bone metabolism without the joint-pounding of running marathons or triathlons.
Now, I doubt if I’ve gotten up to five miles a day, because…well…I have a job, but when I went to the doctor in August and they weighed me, I discovered that I weighed about 10 pounds less than I expected. So clearly the walking is doing some good — though I think eating from the garden all summer probably also had something to do with it. But the most important thing about walking is that I’ll be able to do it well into old age. And maybe then I’ll have time to walk those five miles a day.