The best news I’ve ever gotten that doesn’t involve the words “It’s a buffet” or “you have more in your checking account than you thought” came from a suburban chiropractor in Kansas City this week.
“You have no business running,” the chiropractor said with a furrowed brow. “You have a range of motion in your hips, knees and ankles that the Rockettes would kill for. But it means you shouldn’t run, like ever. Your joints are too loose, so to speak. You’re going to hurt yourself or damage your joints if you keep running. Have you considered cycling?”
It took everything in my power to not jump up and do the Macarena or some other white person dance out of sheer joy. My entire life I’d been made to feel like a sloth because running was incredibly painful for me. I had several P.E. teachers purse their lips and tell me I was just being lazy– never mind the fact I did two-a-day dance practices most of my teenage years. No, I just didn’t run like a teenage gazelle so it meant I didn’t hustle.
For years, I forced myself through 5K races but had no problem doing hour long boot camp classes. That was my most recent hint that something was up: I had the cardiovascular strength, but it was excruciating to run. I mean, I have a 115/69 blood pressure which means I’m either in decent shape or one of the Lizard People. Now I know that I’m right, and I have something to say.
You can take your Asics and shove ‘em. Here’s why:
Reason #1: Walking Is Better:
Have you ever power walked away from a herd of raccoons with your freshman year suitemate because they were chasing you across campus, but you didn’t want to drop your Superdog? I bet you’ve never ended up in a cave along the Missouri river. I have. Why haven’t you? Because you were running. Clearly, I’m the winner here.
Do you know what joggers find? Dead bodies. Have you never seen an episode of Law and Order: SVU?
Walking gives you the cardiovascular benefits of running with the added benefit of being able to talk to someone. It’s the movement of body and soul at the same time. Yeah I want exercise, but I want an adventure a million times more. Just call me Indiana Jones in clearance Nikes.
Reason #2: It Isn’t Fun and You Know It
I definitely fell into this trap: because running is Satan’s preferred form of exercise, it must mean that it’s the best workout. I loved the sweating, the high calorie count, the sense of accomplishment. You know what also gives me that feeling? Tacos.
There’s a reason why SoulCycle, Barre and trampoline (yes, I know someone who does trampoline classes) have exploded nationwide. It’s an equal amount of calorie burn as running but ten times the fun. I totally get why someone would pay to jump on a trampoline. Honestly, I would rather ride a bike 20+ miles like a two-wheeled version of the 500 Miles song.
Treadmills? If God wanted me to be a hamster on a wheel, he would have made me a hamster.
Reason #3: Just… Why?
On my drive home from Kansas City to St. Joseph every night after work, I see a sign that says that St. Joseph is 26 miles away. I often reflect on the fact that I loathe driving that last 26 miles, let alone running it. I have to drive to work, why would I choose to do that by foot for recreation?
For me, running is right up there with listening to Fran Drescher’s voice and getting stuck behind someone going slow in the left lane. It sometimes happens, but I will avoid it at all costs. You know what? If I end up in hell, I’ll be running in 5K race during which I cannot run away because of slow-running people on my left and all of my Apple music has been replaced by the Nanny reading the Yellow Pages.
My point is this: if my heart rate is going to be in the cardio range, I want to make it fun. Not a recreational foot commute. Not as the only litmus test of my fitness and dedication.