Monday, November 23, 2009

Run for Your Life

Dearest Readers,

Yoga is pretty much my only form of exercise. I don't own a vehicle so I do a lot of walking and bike riding (when the weather is fair) but I don't go to the gym and I'm not a jogger.

Despite yoga's immense benefits it does not really get my heart rate going fast enough or long enough to be considered a cardiovascular exercise and I have been told by various doctors that I ought to engage in some kind of work-out that gets my heart pumping.

Whitehorse has super hiking trails and so I often go for mini-hikes and use the hills and cliffs as a way to get more "cardio". And they tire me out. I recently ran straight up a cliff to catch a sunset and was so out of breath when I got to the top that I thought I might collapse.

This came as a shock to me. I like to think I'm in great shape. I may be flexible enough to bend my body in half but my heart and lungs are sorely in need of some serious action.

That episode up the cliffs reminded me of a movie I'd seen in grade school on physical fitness. (God, we loved it when we got to watch movies in the classroom! The sound of the projector in the dark, permission to rest head on desk, a break from the monotony of lessons...)

This particular film was based on the true story of a man with a family and a good job who suffered from depression and wished to kill himself.

The man gets the bright idea that he's going to do the deed by giving himself a heart attack. He decides he will run himself to death. Not your typical route to suicide but there you have it.

So we see the dramatization of the man waking up in the middle of the night and going outside to run. He runs and runs and runs until he collapses. But as he lies on the grass preparing to die his exhaustion goes away and he recovers.

So he gets up and goes home vowing to do the same thing the next night. And the next night he runs again until he collapses. But again he doesn't die. You can probably guess what happens.

He repeats this "suicide attempt" every night until he finds he is able to run for longer and longer periods of time. He gets faster. He loses weight. And his depression disappears. He no longer wants to die.

So when I climb a hill and reach the top and find myself so out of breath I think I might puke I tell myself, "If you do this more often, this will change."

And so I've made a commitment to go on one cardio-cliff-climbing excursion a week. It's not a lot but it's a start.

Inspiring Message of the Day: The more we do something the easier it becomes. Something new may feel like a punishment but we are adaptable and the activity will eventually have its rewards.

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