Monday, June 20, 2011

A Case for Running: It's a Classic

So when I was in college as an English major, I was required to read many books labeled under "the classics."  These were books the withstood the test of time.  For whatever reason, they are still read centuries after being published because something about them is timeless and it continues to appeal to each generation as they come.  Books aren't the only classics however.  What classic sports can you think of?  Baseball, basketball, football?  How about running?  It's a true classic sport/activity/way to get your butt to stop looking like that.  What's the opposite of a classic?  A fad.
Let's take a stroll, or a run if you want, down the memory lane of exercise fads.

Tae Bo:
I'm quite aware that there are people who still do Tae Bo, but in general, most people have moved on from the fist pumping charisma of Billy Blanks.  Tae Bo was and is a great form of exercise, don't get me wrong, but when an exercise routine is a fad, it will go away; that's just part of the definition of a fad.  And when the exercise you've become accustomed to suddenly isn't the hip thing anymore, it will get increasingly harder for you to find Tae Bo classes or videos to help you out. 

8 Minute Anything:
Got 8 minutes?  Then you can tone your butt, thighs, abs!  Remember those videos of the 90s that gave us a way to fit in fitness into our crazy lives where we only had, literally, 8 minutes to maintain our health everyday?  Yeah, another fad that didn't last.  This one, however, didn't last because, really, 8 minutes?  Come on people!

Contraption Central:
What do the names Suzanne Summers, Tony Little and Chuck Morris have in common?  All creators (or at least pedalers) of exercise contraptions that were sure to solve all of your body image problems.  To name a few we have: The Thigh Master, The Abdomenizer, and The Gazelle Freestyle.  Where are most of these things now?  Probably on the curb of some garage sale going for a buck.  Enough said.

Okay, before any of you threaten me with bodily harm for even daring to put Zumba on this list, you have to admit it's fad qualities.  1)It seemed to come out of nowhere,  2)Everyone and their dog is doing it, 3)It has an infomercial on nearly every hour.  It's a fad.  Now, I've tried Zumba and I actually think it's pretty fun. But I fear that when Zumba is no longer the big thing, the Zumba instructors will go away, along with the DVDs and other merchandise and those of us who depended on Zumba to maintain our weight will be left to find something else to do.

Now let's get to the classics.  I can think of a handful, namely cycling, swimming and any sport that requires you to move rapidly (sorry Golf, apparently you're not a sport.)  Running is, to me, the classic of the classics.  You don't need any classes and other than shoes and at least one running outfit, you don't need any equipment.  Running may gain in popularity from time to time, but even when it's not the coolest form of exercise out there, it never goes away.  It waits for you to come down from the clouds and watches for your feet to touch the pavement, ready to come running again.  In my opinion, I don't have the energy to stay up with fads.  And a fad carries with it a kind of "This Will End At Some Point" mentality and that only hinders us as we try to stay fit now and for as long as we're breathing.  It's almost like getting married.  Are you wanting something that will carry you thoughout the rest of your life or do you constantly want to be on the hunt? 

So if you're looking for a reason to get into running, here is my fifth reason:  It's a Classic!

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