Running to a ridiculously longer life

Sometimes a news article comes along that is just what you need, at just the right time.

Like this one from The New York Times: “An hour of running may add 7 hours to your life,” the headline practically screamed.

“Seven extra hours for every hour I run?!?” I thought. “Shoot, I’ve already banked enough to live to 307! I’m practically immortal!!! I can start drinking beer for breakfast and eating pretzels dipped in bacon fat, just like I’ve always dreamed!”

As some of you may recall, I recently wrote how I had fallen into a running rut after completing a marathon last fall. And in that column I advised, more or less, to swear off advice columns that promise to help you wake up early or get back into super-fancy exercise regimes. They were failing me as I tried to break my funk and re-engage my lost love for running.

But I want to amend that: Skip advice columns, BUT … in their place, read only the headlines of stories on health studies that make grandiose and overly-general claims. (The key here is ONLY read the headlines, never the full story. Life is best when you gloss over the facts and skip the fine print.)

Because if you do … YOU’LL REALIZE YOU’RE GOING TO LIVE FOREVER!!! And I’m back to running, baby!

Personally, I always thought runners had shorter life spans because we’re incredibly impatient and tend to do irrational stuff, like run into traffic while thinking, “What’s that big, stupid bus going to do to me! I’m superhuman! That last mile just bought me an extra ¾ hours of life! MUHAHAHAHA!”

No doubt there are emergency room nurses and doctors all over America wondering why they are seeing a dramatic increase in runners who have been hit by buses, tried to fight bears or ate plates of bacon while jogging.

But that aside, it was the headline I needed. Which is great, as I had just been reading another article about a 9-minute workout that promised to strengthen my core, make me stronger and give me a stomach flatter than Florida.

It sounded horrible. Squats. As many pushups as you can do in a minute. (In my case, it turns out four … if you count the last one where I roll over and scream for someone to call 911.) And something call Burpees, which I also learned is an ancient torture technique banned by the Geneva Convention.

I was thinking about trying this routine, and maybe lightening up on running, when I read the headline. Oh, glorious headline. My chosen sport had saved me! It is the Fountain of Youth. A time machine. A way to live forever!

So, thank you exaggerated, grandiose headline. You have made a runner out of me again. Now, it’s time to cook up a plate of bacon and go for a run. (I hope I see a bear.)

Also published on Medium.

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