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Why this obsession with running marathons?
CBC News ^

Posted on 05/20/2014 9:51:59 AM PDT by Phillyred

A friend recently turned 30 and at her party — along with the cake, gifts, and general merriment — I felt a responsibility to offer a warning that I would have appreciated when I reached that age.

I told her that she was about to lose many of her close friends to an insidious cultural practice that snakes its way into our lives just as adulthood is waving its hoary hand.

I'm not sure how, or when exactly, it happens, but if you are one of those infected it takes over and pretty soon you can't relate to your friends anymore.

I'm talking about running marathons.

Why is it that seemingly normal people turn 30 and then feel compelled to start training for marathons? They don't run towards or from anything, they just start running.

I can't tell you how many friends I have lost to this obsession. My birthday friend waved off my concerns as, well, insanity. But I've seen too many friends and loved ones give in to this crazy compulsion not to try to hold up a stop sign.

It doesn't make sense — 30 isn't the age to start running, long distances in particular. It's the age you start lying down.

A lawyer who used to represent injured workers told me that 30 is the age where the body starts breaking down — backs give out, knees get wobbly.

Humans actually start to shrink after 30 as muscle tone deteriorates and gravity has its way.

Most of this lawyer's clients had their first injury at around age 30. So why would we start taking up an activity that's so hard on our backs and knees, not to mention the big pump?

Researchers at places like the Mayo Clinic continue to warn that running more than 60 minutes a day can scar the heart.

Big butts

Unless a pack of wolves is chasing me, or there is a sale at Dairy Queen, there's no reason for me to run anywhere, let alone do a marathon.

marathon-300-rtr206u8 A marathon runner hits his stride in Vancouver's Stanley Park. (Andy Clark / Reuters)

But I'm having trouble keeping track of all my friends who have taken up this "sport" and, despite all my protestations and my logic, it turns out we human beings are designed to run. Long distances, in fact. And for reasonably long periods of time.

Our gluteus maximus is responsible for this. In other words, as studies have found, we have big butts that do relatively little work when we're walking on flat surfaces but they come in incredibly handy to propel us during running.

According to evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman at Harvard University, our huge bumpers give us the balance that other bipedal animals get from tails, and they also aid in making us superior runners.

Our ability to run apparently helped in our evolution as well because while there is no way we could beat one of the other great apes in a fight we could definitely outrun them.

We also had to run to catch some of the animals we wanted to eat.

Even though many animals, like dogs and cats, run faster than us, as the distances get longer we're actually able to catch up and beat some of the fastest creatures on the planet.

Add to this the configuration of our ear canals, which give us the incredible balance needed to run on two legs, and you see why we might make ideal marathoners.

Being relatively hairless also helps. It makes it easy to get rid of excess heat.

'Marathon Boy'

Of course all that evolutionary stuff was clearly useful for our cave dwelling ancestors, but what does running a marathon really mean in our modern world, I want to ask.

Well, I may have to concede that argument as well.

I do recall that when the 9/11 attacks shook the world, New York City especially, in September 2001, the New York Marathon two months later became a symbol of perseverance.

I remember then cabinet minister John Manley going to run that marathon as a show of solidarity with our U.S. neighbours. It was potent reminder that we are in this together, for the long run.

The same can probably be said for all the charity and worthy-cause marathons that keep cropping up and occupying the ambitions of so many of my friends.

I suppose that if you think of running in socio-economic terms, it is also an incredibly democratic and accessible activity.

Unlike so many other sports, there is no expensive equipment required, just some decent shoes, I guess. No hockey-style body armour or graphite rackets, just the open road and the will to push yourself forward.

There was a beautiful and moving documentary last year called Marathon Boy about Budhia Singh, a child from the slums of India, who became a sensation for his ability to run long distances at a very young age.

He ran half-marathons when he was three, marathons and, in the most famous instance, more than 64 kilometres non-stop at four.

Budhia was loved and admired, not just for his abilities as a runner, but because of what the running represented. In a country where most live in abject poverty, to see a young boy, especially from the slums, rise to fame and notoriety for his abilities, is the great American/Canadian/Indian dream.

So maybe the marathon is more than a yuppie rite of passage, or friends going through an early mid-life crisis.

But maybe this summer, when my friends and loved ones take on the selfless task of long-distance running — either for charity or for their own insanity — I'll cheer them on and try to not to mock, from the comfort of the sidelines of course.


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Old article, but currently on my mind. Seriously, what is the deal with the recent (maybe not?) obsession with running? Bumper stickers, run for this, run for that, Facebook postings on how far people ran...I have to say it is annoying me just a tad. Not so much the running I guess, but the obsession and posting about it. Am I just a grump?
1 posted on 05/20/2014 9:51:59 AM PDT by Phillyred
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To: Phillyred

Because walking it takes too long.


2 posted on 05/20/2014 9:52:26 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Phillyred
"Unless a pack of wolves is chasing me, or there is a sale at Dairy Queen, there's no reason for me to run anywhere, let alone do a marathon".

Yep that's me!

3 posted on 05/20/2014 9:54:42 AM PDT by defconw (Well now what?)
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To: Phillyred

I don’t really know....I just remember some Iron Woman something or other woman who just had to run, run, run...

In this particular event, she couldn’t keep up and pushed. She pushed until she shat all over herself and collapsed right there. I sometimes wonder what kind of person she actually is and how she is with those around her.


4 posted on 05/20/2014 9:55:51 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: Phillyred

Friend of mine started biking (road) at 52 and went all in within three years. He’ll 100 miles each day on Sat. and Sun., and then 40ish miles each day during the week.

Joined a local bike club, got a new set of friends and is really in shape. Does not hang with any of his old friends.

Hey, it’s his life.


5 posted on 05/20/2014 9:56:13 AM PDT by PeteB570 ( Islam is the sea in which the Terrorist Shark swims. The deeper the sea the larger the shark.)
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To: Phillyred
Why is it that seemingly normal people turn 30 and then feel compelled to start training for marathons?
I turned 40, then ran my first marathon. Why 40? Because I didn't wait until I turned 50 to attempt it.
6 posted on 05/20/2014 9:56:33 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: Phillyred

Runners may be obsessed, but they beat cyclists any day of the week.

(ducking)


7 posted on 05/20/2014 9:57:17 AM PDT by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1!)
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To: Phillyred

I’ll start running when I see a runner smiling.


8 posted on 05/20/2014 9:58:13 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Phillyred

my son, and more recently my daughter-in-law, are into it ... and both are edging ever closer to 50. the only thing that bothers me about it is when when they gripe, seek sympathy, or brag about their aches, pains, and injuries.


9 posted on 05/20/2014 9:58:23 AM PDT by TheRightGuy (I want MY BAILOUT ... a billion or two should do!)
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To: Phillyred

Running, especially jogging, is very hard on the joints.

I walk about 12 miles a week to burn calories, offsetting my office chair hours.

I’ve lost 25 pounds in the last 3 months, doing this and lifting weights. I’d like to lose another 15.

If I ever feel the need to start running (to burn those calories faster), I will sprint, not jog. Sprinting for 100-200 yds until I can’t keep sprinting. Then I’ll walk until I can sprint again.


10 posted on 05/20/2014 10:00:01 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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FR Needs Donors To Survive

Please Donate!

11 posted on 05/20/2014 10:00:35 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: SampleMan

I agree with you. I’m a big fan of exercise, but running is hard on the body, especially the knees....and even more so for women.


12 posted on 05/20/2014 10:02:43 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon ((Support Christian white males---the architects of the jewel known as Western Civilization).)
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To: Phillyred

ever heard of this dedicated runner?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6QZY5G_b8


13 posted on 05/20/2014 10:03:08 AM PDT by MNDude
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To: Phillyred

I began running Triathlons at age 49. I have done about 8-9 Sprints, but will not even think about a full or even a half Iron man. I did it to inspire my wife that was recovering from Central Nervous system Lyme’s disease. The Doctor said she needed to exercise so I signed us up at the Y.


14 posted on 05/20/2014 10:03:23 AM PDT by verga (Conservative, leaning libertatrian)
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To: Phillyred

Running keeps me feeling young. I’m 48. I tell my 16 y/o daughter and her friends I just ran 8 miles and they think I’m a freak. I love it. That said, RUNNING IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY. And that’s okay. Walk, ride a bike, play tennis. It’s all good. I like the challenge of running.


15 posted on 05/20/2014 10:03:48 AM PDT by ryan71 (The Partisans)
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To: MNDude

I always point out that the first marathoner dropped dead right after completing it.


16 posted on 05/20/2014 10:03:54 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Larry Lucido
Because walking it takes too long.

Ture, but marathons take too damn long too.

So I just do 10k's now.

17 posted on 05/20/2014 10:05:24 AM PDT by FreeReign
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To: Phillyred

The only running I do is ... running late.


18 posted on 05/20/2014 10:08:09 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: workerbee
Runners may be obsessed, but they beat cyclists any day of the week.

Runners are much more polite when it comes to sharing the roads with cars. One of the things I love about winter is that 95% of the cyclists disappear from the roads.

I don't get the marathon thing. I think the participants are trying to prove something; to themselves or others, I don't know. It doesn't look like fun, and I'm not sure of the health benefits. Maybe they just like wearing spandex.
19 posted on 05/20/2014 10:08:22 AM PDT by LostInBayport (When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving...)
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To: oh8eleven
Why is it that seemingly normal people turn 30 and then feel compelled to start training for marathons?

I turned 40, then ran my first marathon. Why 40? Because I didn't wait until I turned 50 to attempt it.

I'm running my first at 50. I've done enough halfs that I can run them in my sleep. Time to up the ante!

Why do it? When I stop finding ways to challenge myself physically and mentally, it's time to dig a hole and call it quits.

And my knees are just fine. And I get to be a 50 year old size 6 woman who never says no to a donut!

20 posted on 05/20/2014 10:08:22 AM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: SampleMan
Running, especially jogging, is very hard on the joints.
It may be for a few, but for the vast majority of runners, there's no problem.
In fact, many studies have concluded that runners suffer no more bone and/or joint injuries than non-runners.
For example ...
21 posted on 05/20/2014 10:09:11 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: meowmeow

Doing HIIT does just as good, is quicker and much better on the knees.


22 posted on 05/20/2014 10:10:44 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Phillyred

Myslef and most of my friends are in our early 30’s and we all, independently of each other, took up different forms of exercise right after 30. Be it running, weight lifting, cross fit, or biking we are all doing something now we were not doing before turning 30. My dime store psychology says its to prove to ourselves we still can ;-)


23 posted on 05/20/2014 10:13:55 AM PDT by RightOnTheBorder
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To: Phillyred

I took up running last year after never having even run to the mailbox in all the prior years.

I went from no running ever to running for fun. I do the occasional 5k and 10k and plan on training for my first Half (13.1 miles) which takes place in October.

For me, it’s all about the camaraderie. I train with others that I met through the running programs, and we don’t try to break any records, we just have fun. No injuries so far, but like I said, we do it for fun so we aren’t going that fast lol.


24 posted on 05/20/2014 10:15:01 AM PDT by Reddy (bo stinks)
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To: RightOnTheBorder

I get that. And that’s great. I just don’t get the whole over-advertising about it all.


25 posted on 05/20/2014 10:15:55 AM PDT by Phillyred
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To: dfwgator
Doing HIIT does just as good, is quicker and much better on the knees.

I'm not in a hurry. And I just like to run. It's great to be able to move so freely, take in the sights and sounds of wherever I happen to be...and then go out for ice cream.

26 posted on 05/20/2014 10:16:31 AM PDT by meowmeow (In Loving Memory of Our Dear Viking Kitty (1987-2006))
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To: meowmeow
And I get to be a 50 year old size 6 woman who never says no to a donut!
I'm 67 now, have been on the road for 32 years. Have never turned down food regardless of the calories involved.
Good luck!
27 posted on 05/20/2014 10:18:19 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: PeteB570

“Friend of mine started biking (road) at 52 and went all in within three years. He’ll 100 miles each day on Sat. and Sun., and then 40ish miles each day during the week.

Joined a local bike club, got a new set of friends and is really in shape. Does not hang with any of his old friends.

Hey, it’s his life.”

Biking is totally different from running on pavement. Biking for most bike riders is a healthier addiction.

One of our younger relatives in his late 40’s rides his bikes over 10k a year. Most of the time, he rides his bike 10 miles to work, a lunch time sprint and about 20-30 miles home. The longer trip home relaxes him and gets rid of work related tension.

His knees, ankles and hips are in great shape. Only advice from his doctor is “don’t waste your/our time and your money on physicals and eat more. See me if you are sick or hurt yourself. Keep riding those bikes. Ride different bikes during each week.”

He rides with a similar group as you noted. Most of them bust the hump with 100 miles plus on Saturday. If they ride their bikes on Sunday, they use their simple bikes like we used to have as kids on simple rides with their kids/wives and around their home towns. Some of the younger and more addicted riders do hump busting rides on Sunday too. When they get to their mid 30’s, the Sunday rides become shorter fun rides.

A large % of his riding group is 50 to 70+ age wise. They look and act like they are 20-30 years younger.


28 posted on 05/20/2014 10:19:30 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: DManA

“I’ll start running when I see a runner smiling.”

BOL! I adopted that reality about 4 decades ago.


29 posted on 05/20/2014 10:21:25 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: All

did not work out so well for the very very very first marathon runner ...


30 posted on 05/20/2014 10:23:17 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: DManA
I’ll start running when I see a runner smiling.

Bingo!

I've been a walker for about two years now. My goal is to walk 7-9 miles, 4 days a week. I've got a super trail where I live, just be careful of the Lance Armstrong wanna-bes.

I celebrated my 60th birthday two weeks ago by making a complete round trip from my house to the end of the trail, a bit more than 15 miles. Slept like a baby, was not sore the next day.

31 posted on 05/20/2014 10:26:56 AM PDT by Night Hides Not (For every Ted Cruz we send to DC, I can endure 2-3 "unviable" candidates that beat incumbents.)
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To: DManA
I’ll start running when I see a runner smiling.

A fat porker mentioned the same thing to me some years ago. I told him I didn't have to look in the mirror to find my d!ck.

32 posted on 05/20/2014 10:31:30 AM PDT by Jacquerie (To restore the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th. Article V.)
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To: Larry Lucido

[ According to evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman at Harvard University, our huge bumpers give us the balance that other bipedal animals get from tails, and they also aid in making us superior runners.

Our ability to run apparently helped in our evolution as well because while there is no way we could beat one of the other great apes in a fight we could definitely outrun them.

We also had to run to catch some of the animals we wanted to eat.

Even though many animals, like dogs and cats, run faster than us, as the distances get longer we’re actually able to catch up and beat some of the fastest creatures on the planet.

Add to this the configuration of our ear canals, which give us the incredible balance needed to run on two legs, and you see why we might make ideal marathoners.

Being relatively hairless also helps. It makes it easy to get rid of excess heat. ]

The whole “Out of trees and onto the savhanna” theory is daned brainless, if it were true why would we even lose our body hair, baboons LIVE in the savanna and they have fur, so why not humans....

Not to mention the shape of the nose, and the amount of body fat that would actually make it HARDER to shed excess heat.

If we came down from the trees and started walking upright in the savhanna we would look like bipedal baboons... Not like something entirely different...


33 posted on 05/20/2014 10:33:12 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: CatherineofAragon

“I’m a big fan of exercise, but running is hard on the body, especially the knees....and even more so for women.”

Add the hips into your equation. Women for many reasons seem to wear out their hips before we do. If they run, they often seem to need new knees and hips.

In our cul de sac as we all have aged in the last 35 years, the women our age, who ran, all have new hips and knees. My wife used to get kidded by female co workers, gals in her bridge group, church groups and on our block that she never ran. She is now in her early 70’s and still has her original knees and hips. We try to walk twice a day up and down our hills and on flat land about 1.5 miles each trip. She wears a couple of sizes smaller dress and slack wise than when we got married, and she is about the same weight before our kids came along. Her secret has been the walking and Italian eating habits.


34 posted on 05/20/2014 10:33:14 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: Grampa Dave

Swimming is good too, less strain on joints as well.


35 posted on 05/20/2014 10:34:56 AM PDT by GraceG
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To: Phillyred

Personal experience which led to running marathons: In the late winter of 1977 my father-in-law mentioned to me that Spring Lake (Mrs. JimRed’s hometown and our residence at that time) would be having a five mile race on the Monday of Memorial Day weekend. I had been running a little to stay fit for skiing and rec basketball, but hadn’t really trained since high school, so I decided to start a workout program to get ready to try it.

It hurt like heck (warm day, out too fast at the start, rookie mistakes) but I managed to finish 125th of about 500 in 33:15. I had nothing to compare it to, so I was surprised when some guys in my age group (30-35) who were regular racers told me I’d finished ahead of them. That was the incentive to train regularly, and to enter more races that summer.

Eventually I was breaking 30 minutes for five miles regularly, and over the next year and a half tried 5k and 10k races, an 8 mile up and down Garrett Mountain (Paterson, NJ) and a half marathon. 27 races all told, but entry fees were cheap then! I was HOOKED!

The marathon was the logical progression in the series of challenges. On 30-50 miles a week and a longest training run of 15 miles, I finished my first in 3:22:15 at Philadelphia. Hooked again! Now the goal was three hours, another challenge. Then the goal was Boston, needing a sub- 2:50:00 to qualify. Squeezed out a 2:48:45, then finished Boston the following spring in 2:56:57.

Bottom line: It’s all about the challenge and improving. And an occasional age group trophy or medal is nice, too!


36 posted on 05/20/2014 10:39:38 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed & water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: Phillyred

37 posted on 05/20/2014 10:40:03 AM PDT by mc5cents (Pray for America)
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To: Jacquerie

Fat porkers are disgusting.


38 posted on 05/20/2014 10:41:06 AM PDT by DManA
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To: GraceG

“Swimming is good too, less strain on joints as well.”

We lived in Sacramento for a few years. We had a nice pool, I would swim before work and in the evening. Often it was too hot to walk, and I just swam more.


39 posted on 05/20/2014 10:42:25 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: Phillyred

As someone who has been jogging since 1971, I think running has gone way down in popularity.

I don’t know the statistics. But if I go shopping for real running shoes, they are a lot harder to find. Most athletic shorts are basketball style, where there used to be racks of shorts good for actually DOING something.

And when I was in college (think 1970s), lots of folks jogged. I finished a math class at the local community college this spring, and there were not many students who looked capable of jogging very far from their computer screen...or their donuts.


40 posted on 05/20/2014 10:44:36 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I sooooo miss America!)
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To: Grampa Dave
Add the hips into your equation. Women for many reasons seem to wear out their hips before we do. If they run, they often seem to need new knees and hips.

Mrs. Slim ran tons before she married me and learned the value of sloth. She's had one hip done, needs the other, and the knees are only a question of time.

41 posted on 05/20/2014 10:45:04 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Night Hides Not

I love walking.


42 posted on 05/20/2014 10:46:31 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Tijeras_Slim

“Mrs. Slim ran tons before she married me and learned the value of sloth. She’s had one hip done, needs the other, and the knees are only a question of time.”

Unfortunately Mrs. Slim sounds like so many of our neighbors and friends our age, who got addicted to running.

Hopefully, she will be able to take up walking after all the repair jobs are done.


43 posted on 05/20/2014 10:48:29 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: Phillyred

Humans are fond of extreme sports. Marathons gave way to Ironman competitions and other extreme-distance extreme-conditions races. It’s all part of the “climb Mt Everest” mentality.

Last year a couple ran a marathon every day. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2014/01/01/elderly-couple-ran-a-marathon-every-day-of-2013/
Not entirely unheard of, there are other groups that perform long-distance runs on a frequent basis (look up “marathon monks” and related research).


44 posted on 05/20/2014 10:48:46 AM PDT by ctdonath2 ("If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun" - Obama, setting RoE with his opposition)
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To: Phillyred
 photo 80b8ca93-1104-4331-9935-3e9f1de82626_zps211f6643.jpg And if running doesn't work for you try weightlifting. I was 45 in this pic. :)
45 posted on 05/20/2014 10:50:00 AM PDT by murrie (Mark Levin: Prosecuting stupidity nightly.)
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To: SampleMan

High-impact intervals burns calories faster than plodding along.


46 posted on 05/20/2014 10:53:31 AM PDT by mkboyce
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To: Grampa Dave

She’s been doing slow hikes for some years now.


47 posted on 05/20/2014 10:54:21 AM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: oh8eleven

Believe what you want. There will always be a study by an interested party to support you.

I’ve got to go with my own personal experience, where I’ve witnessed 30-50 year old runners getting impact injuries and destroying their ankles, knees, and hips.

Of course, not exercising at all leads to a weak joint support, and that also causes injuries and pain.

I’ll never believe that running 3 miles is better for a person than fast-walking it. As for running 5 miles or more a day? That’s just abusive on your body.


48 posted on 05/20/2014 10:56:35 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

“She’s been doing slow hikes for some years now.”

Good news for her and you.


49 posted on 05/20/2014 11:03:06 AM PDT by Grampa Dave ( Herr Obama will not divert resources from his war on Americans to help Veterans!)
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To: SampleMan
Believe what you want. There will always be a study by an interested party to support you.
Yeah, you're right and untold scores of studies and millions of runners are wrong. LOL ...
50 posted on 05/20/2014 11:03:50 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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