Screaming Into The Abyss

Exercise Does Not Mean Taking Shortcuts
By Ben Zvan
On September 22, 2008 at 12:13
Sports

The ShortcutThere's a car ad, I think it's for Acura, where a guy is running down a trail through the woods when he sees a divergent path going straight up the hill, he takes it. Initially, I thought they were trying to show the runner as a risk-taking maverick character, a hardcore runner going for the challenge. That would have made a great ad for outdoor gear. The end of the commercial shows the runner reaching his car and talks about how buying a "pre-owned" vehicle is a great shortcut to getting what you "deserve."

Okay, fine, I get the buy-used line, but the guy is skimping on his morning run so he can get back to his car faster? He's probably just going to work now in order to pay off his car loan anyway. I'd rather stay outside for a while longer.

Earlier this summer, I saw a guy taking a shortcut to get to the running trail. You read that right. He was coming out of what I assume was his back yard, hopping a fence, crossing active railroad tracks, then hopping another fence to get to his run. To add silliness to potential injury, there's a road not 100 meters from his fence-jumping spot that crosses said tracks and trail.

Every time I see something like this, it really confuses me. The point of exercise is to get out and expend energy. You want to do more work in order to burn calories and fat and cause new calories and fat to be stored as muscle rather than fat reserves. Taking a shortcut can only short-circuit the whole concept of exercise.

Each day I ride, my goal is to come back a little sooner than I did last time. I don't do it by taking shortcuts, I do it by going a little faster. A few seconds less per mile each time, a minute or two less exercise each time. As I have extra time I add a few miles to my ride and start the cycle over again. A few seconds less...

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