Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In search of a healthy "LIFESTYLE"... Running?

Healthy lifestyle. What does this mean? Balanced diet? Exercise? Mental fitness?

Hey there readers, you must be wondering where was I for the past months away from this blog. Nothing has been updated on the sports arena. Where am I? Well, to tell you the truth, I have just shelved my photography as a hobby somewhere, and been away from the auto-sporting arena for almost a year now.

Reason being, change of working career; leading me to be more focused on my current working career.

I used to work and sweat myself out at work due to the heavy lifting of goods and stuff, assuming that it was OK not to exercise as I say to myself, "hey, I've already shed sweat during my work time, and that's enough right?".

The very first day I step into the new working environment, I was approached by my newly acquainted colleague, who happens to jog after office hours at the nearby public park when its clear skies in the afternoon, else, running up and down the 16-floor steps to shed sweat. He said to me, "You know what? We need to keep a healthy lifestyle. Do you exercise?"

At first, it never occurred to me that the question he asked me the very first day would have brought me this far. Definitely, I did tell him that, once in a while, YES, I did shed sweat, but not more than once a month, I think.

Day in, day out. My normal routine will be coming to the office, sitting in front of the computer screen for more than 6-hours, straining my back, my eyes, my brain, everything that my body and soul would offer to the slavery of WORK and computers. After a few weeks, I find that I am losing weight. Is this a good sign? Without exercising, I am actually losing weight!

Then one fine day, I took the opportunity to buy myself a pair of shoes, and without any pre-training, without any preparation, signed up for a 10-kilometre run organised in celebration of "International Firefighters' Day". I stood up to the challenge of my office mate, Hisham, that I am able to do the 10-kilometre run without stopping for breath.

Fair enough, I had to make 4-stops to complete the run on that day. Where has all my fitness gone to? I could have run a 21-kilometre run without shedding a single sweat back then, without stopping to catch a breath.

It then struck me, yes, I did shed sweat during my daily routine in my previous work. Yes, I did lift some weights at home to shed some sweat off of me. But, was it enough? Question answered; NO!

I then started Google-ing up, "maintaining a healthy lifestyle". A healthy lifestyle by right, is choosing the right food, maintaining a balanced diet, keeping fit by exercising, NOT SMOKING, having a healthy mind and many more. Its just doing what best maintains your health and life. Its all about BALANCE.

After the 10-kilometre run incident, I then took the challenge by my dear friend, Hisham, to follow him and continue running, taking it easy and progressing the distance as we go along. It started with a leg-crunching, heart-exhaustion and mental-disablement, keeping up with the first few runs round the ~2.4-kilometre circuit once every two days. That's just ONE ROUND in every two days. That too, my heart was pumping really hard, and my bones were aching, and the lungs were just working its every muscle to catch every breath to supply sufficient 02 to the heart. Will I succeed?

In two months, with constant running, I have managed to increase my pace and distance to 2-full rounds round the 2.4-kilometre track. That's like 4.8-kilometres! In total, I was already doing 14.4-kilometres a week or 57+ kilometres a month! Was it good enough?

Well, lets try and put it to my body figures. Well, I did not lose much weight; just 4kg. Waist? Still at 34". But will I be able to finish a 10-kilometre run? Indeed I did! In just 2-months running, I managed to run the next 10-kilometre run at a constant single pace finishing in 1 hour 20 minutes. No doubt, it was like 3-times slower than any other marathon runner, but, it was an achievement to myself.

But why continue running? What does it mean "A healthy Lifestyle" for myself? Well, 9-months has passed, and I have endured many short marathon runs, the farthest I've done is a 12.4-kilometre run. All completed without any muscle break, without any hard effort during the runs. All it needs was a constant discipline to keep fit, running, at least twice a week. Did it cost much? NO! The only investment I've ever splurged on is on the shoes. Finding the right shoe is important. But, that's it! Just a pair of shoes, and you're on! I'm still not at the "Healthy Lifestyle" point.

The main thing is, that, we are straining ourselves, sitting at our desk, day in, day out, staring at the computer screen, attending meetings, straining your fingers at the keyboard and mouse, breaking your brains thinking of what to type in your reports; yet, we are not moving our muscles enough. We may be eating right, but the heart is not being trained well to keep fit. We are watching our weight, but not doing it right. Starving is not the solution. Starvation does not mean you are fit! That definitely is not a "Healthy Lifestyle".

Running. I would recommend to anyone. Everyone. All you need, is a pair of shoes. What good is it to us? Well, I find it to be:
  1. A way to relieve stress
  2. Keeping fit at a very minimal cost
  3. Losing weight (not for me really, but it think if I eat right, I'll shed more weight off)
  4. Increase stamina
  5. FUN
  6. Believing in oneself
My target, is to run a half-marathon by end of 2012. Is it achievable? Well, I've come this far, and there is no stopping me. Its just the joy of running. The satisfaction when you cross that line. It is just not describable, but you need to experience it yourself. Well, many thanks to Hisham, my running buddy, always there to guide me and push me, reminding me to keep it going. Till then, happy running!

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