Or maybe it’s not forgotten so much as . . . deferred. Getting kids to school, getting to work, getting dinner made, getting to bed—we spend so much time running around that we don’t take the time for, well, running.
Running does more for the body than just burn calories, though that is an essential part of a diet. Let’s break down a diet to its simplest form and discuss the role that food intake and exercise play in staying healthy.
On average, the typical body needs 2,000 calories per day. Some people, often women, tend to run efficiently on as little as 1,600, while men can efficiently use 2,400 or more depending on one’s lifestyle. The goal with weight loss is to take in fewer calories while continuing to operate at the same rate.
But a diet is much more than eating an apple for breakfast, a banana for lunch, and a handful of unprocessed grain for dinner. A diet is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Too often we decide to pay attention to our diet until a cup of coffee, bowl of ice cream, or bottle of our favorite soda get waved in our nose, and we say, “Just this once.” Just this once . . . what? Just this once today? Just this once this hour? Interestingly enough, the less our body takes in of sugars and caffeine, the less it can handle at one time.
We make the same concessions for our running habits, and our body reacts the same: the more we do, the easier it is to do. When you add running to your diet, your body becomes a much more efficient system, and sugars and other harmful substances are not welcome there. When I was in track, I had a few weeks at the beginning of the season when my body had to purge itself of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day. After those weeks, I could not so much as finish a bag of Skittles.
That is the kind of condition we want for our bodies, and there is no way to straddle the fence between “just this once” and a healthy lifestyle. Ok, not to get all Nazi about it, but look at the facts: following one set of steps will make you end up in one place, and another set of steps, well. . . . So it’s your decision.
My excuse for not running was always my bad knees, but even that can’t get in my way. The recent fad in running is zero drop shoes, or natural running. Zero drop are a minimalist form of running that helps the muscles in your feet work in a natural way, promoting greater strength, lower heel impact, and even better knees.
If you want to be in better shape, weigh less, and feel better, then it’s time to add running to your regime. Don’t give yourself excuses, and you’ll find one day that you don’t have. You’ll be glad you did.
ABOUT: Jared Heath is a contributing editor, content strategist, and an amateur trainer. He loves to work out with his wife in whatever rare moment of spare time he can find.