Slowing Down – Whether We Like It or Not

In this time of Covid, some of us are finding our lives slowed down, with work hours curtailed, trips cancelled, commutes compressed from hours to seconds (for those lucky enough to be able to work from home).  Seems like there may be a few folks out there using some of that time to start – or get back to – a running habit, which is a great way to ameliorate the stress and stasis of their situations. For those folks, the Follow Dog has one suggestion above all – Slow Down!

“Wait a minute; running means going fast doesn’t it – I mean, isn’t that the difference between running and walking?” – Nyet! We say; a big, fat, ‘nyet’ to that!

The difference between walking and running is the stride – in walking one foot touches down before the other lifts off, so at least one foot is always in contact with the ground and bearing weight. In running, on the other hand (well, we’re not actually running on our hands, that’s another activity altogether), one foot pushes off before the other touches down, so there’s a moment in every stride when the runner is totally airborne. This can lead to speed, of course, but not always. What it does always do is require more and different muscle activity than walking, which requires – and therefore can build – greater strength and cardio-pulmonary capacity. It can also burn off tons of nervous energy, break our brains free from worries, help us to relax, sleep better and thus to be more effective at all the other things we do during our days, which is the best reason possible to get lace up those sneakers.

An earlier post (Slow and Steady, 9/4/14) talked more about this, and recommended beginning runners go as slow as possible for as long as possible, then build from there. That approach is even more valid right now: we do not need any more frustration than we already have, thank you very much!

So if you’ve got time on your hands (no, I’m not going there a second time), maybe try running, and if at first it doesn’t seem to work for you, try slowing down till you find a pace that fits. When life gives us lemons….

P. S. – The ‘oh yeah’ part: as some of our lives are slowing down, for others (health care workers, first responders, parents of young children), life has just gotten way more intense than ever. If you’re one of them, THANK YOU . For those of us who are not, let’s look for ways to help. And in the meantime, observing local restrictions and keeping a generous distance apart while exercising will ensure we’re not unnecessarily adding to their workload; it’s the least we can do.

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