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Why I’m Running

January 6th, 2011

The long term results of a sedentary career (desk job) and lifestyle are frightening. Like many software developer and other knowledge based workers, I can spend up to 10 hours, 5 days a week sitting in a chair looking at a screen. It has been suggested that “[staring at a screen] is associated with lower resting metabolic rate” (TV watching ‘makes you obese’), and regardless of being “slim or fat … every week spent inactive is roughly equivalent to smoking a packet of cigarettes” (Laziness will send us to an early grave). General health guidelines recommended that we “should do a minimum of 30 minutes moderate-intensity physical activity, five days a week” (How much exercise?), but exercising consistently five days a week is tough without a preferred physical activity.

In the years following University I was focused on my career (being active wasn’t a priority) and nearing my 30th birthday I began to realize my sedentary lifestyle was taking a toll on my health. I was becoming a pasty red-eyed developer. Going up stairs was leaving me gasping for air, riding a bike for 30 minutes was painful, and my metabolism was slowing down.

I made a couple attempts at becoming more fit. The bike; biking was my first attempt to exercise consistently. Cruising the city on a bike had a low barrier to entry, but getting out of the city required about a 2 hour time commitment, and riding in winter was tough. Rollers stepped in for the winter months, but seemed pretty easy without the resistance – I plan on getting a trainer next winter. Then came the gym, but the time limits on the aerobic equipment were frustrating and I didn’t have a desire to work on bulking up. Enters running. Running offered, the lowest barrier to entry (simplicity, tie up your running shoes and run anywhere), an efficient way to maintain cardiovascular fitness (an intense workout can take 30 minutes or less), and fun challenges (races, community, and competition).

I run because it reduces stress, simplifies my focus, makes me feel great, it’s social, and it’s a great way to maintain a fitness base for other pursuits like: biking, hiking, skiing, and even going up the stairs. I run because my career choice doesn’t necessarily facilitate good health.

Author: Adam Kahtava Categories: Personal, Running Tags:
  1. January 6th, 2011 at 10:48 | #1

    “… nearing my 30th birthday I began to realize my sedentary lifestyle (career pursuits) were taking a toll on my health…”

    I’m turning 30 in less than two months and I feel I am in that boat. I bike and run, but only in the warm months. Here in Calgary, those warm times are few are far between. I’m an active person who has been sitting at a desk for 8-10 hrs a day for the last 8 years… and it’s taking it’s toll on me, both physically and mentally. Will be interesting to see what happens this year regarding my lifestyle.

  2. Adam Kahtava
    January 12th, 2011 at 08:03 | #2

    Two words; Penticton Ironman. :)

  3. May 9th, 2011 at 06:07 | #3

    Adam,

    I marvel at your dedication to running and fitness and your training regime. Not to discourage you, but have you thought of the long term effects of running on your body? For example, what is the probability of long term problems with joints etc. when you are 50-60?

    I do like to keep fit as well, but not at all at your level. Cycling has allowed me 30 years of enjoyable outings and commuting. YMMV.

    Cheers.

    Russell

    • Adam Kahtava
      May 9th, 2011 at 10:08 | #4

      Hi Russel,

      The long term effects of running is in constant debate. From my observations it’s not a concern – I run with a local group comprised mainly of 40+ runners with two of the oldest members being 70+. Many articles suggest that the long term effects of running are better than we think.

      the notion persists that running, especially when done long-term and over long distances, is bad for the joints. Indeed, it would be hard to think otherwise … research has begun to show the opposite, especially when it comes to running. Not only is there no connection between running and arthritis, the new studies say, but running — and perhaps regular vigorous exercise generally — may even help protect people from joint problems later on. – Is Running Bad for Your Knees? Maybe Not

      I also enjoy biking in the summer once things dry up, but prefer the flexibility of running through the winter when the snow makes biking conditions less than ideal.

      Keep on riding!

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