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Friday, November 4, 2011

We have an elliptical machine that sits, ever at the ready.  It is a nicely designed machine.  Big, heavy, smooth running, with all of the electronic bells and whistles on it.  It monitors your heart rate, provides no impact cardio, the works..........I hate it.     I used to run frequently on a treadmill, partly because of the area in which I had to run, and the time of day (before dawn).  It wasn't my favorite, but is was, at least.........RUNNING.  It wore out after a thousand miles, and we replaced it with this new elliptical trainer. 

     I can't quite articulate it, but something about this thing bothers me.  It feels like artificial exercise.  Running is often termed as an exercise involving "impact".  Indeed it is if you persist in wearing "running shoes".  They keep you pounding along, heel-toe, heel-toe, heel-toe until the impact causes an injury, even through all of that rubber and gel.  Run barefoot, or in huaraches with no built up padding, and you quickly learn to run without impact, particularly on your heels. 

     You won't run barefoot for long and persist in heel-striking.  Your body self-corrects, your gait gets springier, and you run the way you were designed to run.  "Born to Run", the best seller, is aptly named.  We were, in fact, born to do just that.  It sets us apart.  You hear about "runner's high".  Part endorphins, part doing what nature designed you to do.  Do it without wearing "heel stompers", and you may be lucky enough to realize that it is one of the most enjoyable activities that you can do in order to stay healthy.

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