HEALTH

How my desire to run again inspired me to walk

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How my desire to run again inspired me to walk

I run because during that one brief hiatus, in a busy world full of responsibilities and worries, running shuts down my thinking brain and allows it to roam freely and float in the moment. When I run alone, as I mostly do (or did, and hope to do again), I prefer to run the same route, because that way I can find every random tree root, metal mesh and soil or I am familiar with the section marked with puddles. , so I don’t have to think about being careful. At what speed? No idea and it doesn’t matter.

In that mental state, I assimilate the world I often forget—whether the beauty of the Capitol and the majesty of the Hudson River, or the little things, like the tinkling of a sticky carousel in front of the Smithsonian. And the solutions to the problems are unfounded. Correct sentence to start the article I’m struggling with. Birthday gift for a friend who has everything. How to resolve sibling dispute. When I complete three to four miles, I feel physically exhausted but emotionally active—now excited about plans waiting to be activated.

That need to regain the emotional sustenance that propelled me through months of exhausting physical therapy and rehab.

Physical rehabilitation from a head injury is the opposite of the mental freedom of running. Every time you put your foot down to walk you have to think and consciously strategize how to avoid a small root or rock on the sidewalk. Turn your head to look at the scenery, and it unbalances you.

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You focus on each muscle group to learn to move properly again. It involves thousands of repetitions to teach your brain a simple motion, and hundreds of muscles that need to re-learn their proper roles. Even jogging along the beach isn’t free—it takes hard work and concentration: Strike the heel first, then roll onto the ball of the foot. Focus on the hip muscles and adjust to stabilize for the tilt of the sand and the small push of the oncoming wavelet.

The good news is that the brain is miraculously resilient, often able to rewire its damaged circuits through intense training – an ability called “neuroplasticity.” The bad news is that it’s a slow learner, nerves grow at a rate of 1 millimeter a day, and it takes time for the brain to find solutions for circuits that have been irreparably damaged. So healing can take years. My progress is slow but noticeable, and I don’t know when it will stop.

Today, with care, I can walk at a normal pace (if even a little awkward). I can swim, drive and cook dinner. I can climb the stairs without holding the bannister. My age can satisfy most of the patients. not me. To be able to run again is my Mount Everest. (And to all the doctors who have discouraged my running: Studies over the past decade have shown that running can actually be beneficial for the knees, perhaps even preventing degenerative arthritis.)

#desire #run #inspired #walk

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