I am by no means, an exerciser. “Voluntary sweating,” I call it. And I try to avoid it at all costs. If you were to ask me what I rather do than “go running” I’d have a few dozen quick answers. Walk for instance. Sit might be a close second, and who could forget the all-time greatest activity, laying down? One thing I know to be true is that all three of those take less effort than running (insightful right?).
Ready for a second thing I don’t enjoy? It’s being stuck on something. You know, one of those frustrating creative ruts that feel remediless. Time starts to stretch out to an agonizing length, distorting like a hallway in a dream, all twisty, nauseous and psychedelic. You feel yourself slipping deeper into the hole stress has dug. You start to make enemies out of the street lights on your way home, yelling at every driver, and you can’t even find anything to listen to despite having almost the entire world of recorded music available to you at the palm of your hand.
Things just keep getting worse. Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on that painting or song, brainstorming with your colleagues, figuring out how to balance your own schedule, or just trying to figure out what exactly it is your super-vague boss wants (“grab the reader by the f*cking throat” he says!) you begin that familiar cyclical dialogue with yourself:
“How do I solve the problem?”
“It’s stressing me out that I can’t solve the problem.”
“It’s stressing me out that it’s stressing me out, which is stressing me out!”
Now if you, a well-meaning individual, were to tell me I should consider running on top of all of that stress I’ve got going on, I would ask you if you were some kind of jerk. When you’re stressed about something, some rando on the WORLD WIDE WEB telling you what to do is only going to add to your frustration. No one wants that.
And yet… I’m here to say: You should consider running!
Sure, being frustrated may not instantly drum-up a desire within you to start running. But there’s tons of cool anecdotal evidence from a lot of really awesome and influential artists and thinkers about how important moving is to get our brain flowing. Even cooler than that, there’s a lot of scientific evidence that backs it all up and suggests just how vital movement is to the health of our brains.