Survival Fitness – Running

Running – it’s the innate survival ability we seldom think about, yet, in the face of danger it always comes back to us instantly.  Just think of the last time you were chased by a dog.  It’s also the key element in the most primitive form of hunting.  Persistence hunters are known for their ability to run down their prey for something like 8 hours until the animal practically dies from exhaustion.  Some even say it’s critical for a healthy lifestyle and must be carefully nurtured, which is how the big box shoe manufacturers are able to stay in business.

So why is it then, that we hate running so much?  I, for one, have many excuses:  I don’t have enough time, I have “bad knees”, or it’s not good to run in Southern California because of the high levels of pollution.  The real reason?  I am lazy.  Fact is, running a modest 2 miles takes less time than I spend on the toilet, I have bad knees because I failed to exercise them, and the smog?  The way I see it, regardless of whether I sit on the couch and do nothing (18 breaths per minute) or I get my butt in gear and run (30 breaths per minute), either way I’m breathing the same air.  At least I’m getting exercise, right?


This article isn’t about “how to get better at running.”  It’s more like “stop making excuses and just get running.”  I’ll be honest.  It took me awhile to convince myself to get started.  You see, I’m just a regular guy with regular habits.  I like sitting around as much as the next guy, but deep down inside I know that cardiovascular health is very important for a improved quality of life.  But don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s an excerpt from an article I found on which explains 6 really good reasons to run.

6 Benefits of Running

By Jacquie Cattanach • For

Improve Your Health
Believe it or not, running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health.  Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use.  In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower your risk of developing blood clots.


Prevent Disease
For women, running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer.  It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke.  Many doctors today recommend running for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack.  By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.

Lose Weight
Running is one of the best forms of exercise for losing or maintaining a consistent weight.  You will find that it is a leading way to burn off extra calories and that it is the second most effective exercise in terms of calories burned per minute, following only after cross country skiing.

Boost Your Confidence
Not all of the benefits of running are physical.  Running can provide an noticeable boost to your confidence and self-esteem.  By setting and achieving goals, you can help give yourself a greater sense of empowerment that will leave you feeling much happier.

Relieve Stress
Stress can actually cause a number of health and mood problems.  It can also diminish appetite and sleep quality.  When you run, you force your body to exert excess energy and hormones.  Running also helps to reduce your chances of developing tension headaches.

Eliminate Depression
When you are depressed, the last thing you likely want to do is to get up and go for a run.  Yet you will find that after only a few minutes of running, your brain will start to secrete hormones that naturally improve your mood.  In fact, there are few things in the world that can better or more rapidly treat depression than exercise such as running.


It may seem surprising to learn all of the different ways that running can improve your health, but the truth of the matter is that these are only a few of the many benefits that it can offer to your body.  Running really is incredibly beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit, and you will find that even short runs can leave you feeling more energized, more focused, and better able to enjoy all that life has to offer.

Getting Started:  it worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you

My buddy Jacks has always encouraged me to read.  During one of our discussions, we started talking about running barefoot and he mentioned a book titled “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.  I’d heard about this book before and how well it was written, so I decided to give it a try.  As it turned out, not only was this book fun and interesting to read, but it was very motivational backed by useful information.  Not just for the barefoot runner, but for anyone even remotely interested in running.  If running sounds like something you should do, then I recommend reading this book when getting started.  It’ll give you more insight into running and most likely, keep running interesting.


I recently discovered another tool to help me stay motivated about running.  It’s an iPhone application called “Zombies, Run!”  It’s alittle pricey at $7.99, but I figured the more I’m invested in running, the more I’ll be encouraged to stick to it.  What is it?  In a nutshell, it’s a game that forces you to run in order to play.  Here’s how it works.  You are a runner in a post Zombie outbreak and your sole mission is to run around and collect essentials items for your “base camp”.   The application works off of your iPhone’s GPS or the accelerometer (for use on a treadmill) and measures distance and time to determine how much stuff you’ve collected on your run.  During the run, a voice will come over your headphone alerting you of the things you’ve “picked up” and more importantly, when zombies are near by (which prompts you to run faster for a short duration).  In between the voice overs, music from your pre-selected playlist will play in the background.  Once the run is complete, you go to your “base camp” screen and distribute the items you’ve collected on the run.

Simple, it gives you something to look forward to on your runs and distracts you long enough to complete the run.  You even have the option for uploading your run profile onto the game’s website for the general public to see.  For more info, visit their website at This is just to keep you more motivated when you train.

Remember, running in front of a danger is not a shame, some times running away is the best option you have. Run today to live and fight tomorrow.

So whether your preparing for doomsday or  just want to improve your health, running isn’t so bad when you take measures to make it fun.  For me, it was this app.  So far, it seems to be working for me, perhaps it’ll work for you.liberty2

by modernbushman from

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