I’ve started running again, thanks to the joint-cushioning magic of the treadmills at the gym across the street. And music.
When I was young(er), I’d run the country roads of the rural Shenandoah Valley, energized by the music of nature and the sound of my own breath in rhythm with my gazelle-like (ha!) footfalls.
Country roads turned to suburban sidewalks and walking paths when I moved to Northern Virginia, and my energy came from the music of conversation and laughter as my sister and I chattered through our long distance runs.
(And then there was the day we started giggling so hard that I had to stop running and literally — yes, literally! — fall onto the grass and laugh ’til I ’bout near passed out.)
Time wore on, and so did my joints. Sigh. Knees and ankles started hurting more than I cared to deal with, so running became a memory — replaced by pilates, yoga, power walks, weight lifting, and near-death-by-trainer sessions.
Until I moved last winter to Philadelphia and became a gym rat. At the Training Station, a gym known as THE gym for runners. Well shoot. Teased endlessly by the treadmills I finally snuck onto one (hoping my 43 year old ankles, knees, and hips wouldn’t notice. They did, but that’s a different story) and ran my little heart out. No really, my heart almost popped out. Apparently I left the one-with-the-wind long-distance-bliss in VA.
But I got a glimpse of that pure freedom feeling that I get from no other exercise but running, and I wanted more.
So I turned to music and my best friend iPod.
Started with the typical Workout playlist:
- Jillian Michael’s Favorite Workout Mix 2011 (by Giancarlo)
- Sexy and I Know It (LMFAO)
- Lots of stuff by Blue October (X-Amount of Words, Picking Up the Pieces, Everlasting Friend)
- Dance About It (by Paper Tongues)
- and of course Faith by George Michael
But something was still missing. My body was energized-ish by the music, but my heart was still sitting on the crossbar of the treadmill, napping, waiting for the run to be over. Not how I wanted my run to feel.
So one day I did the ole iPod shuffle instead of the Workout mix. And a song from my recent re-discovery of spiritual (ok, Christian) music by the 2nd Chapter of Acts group started playing. My heart soared, and my feet grew wings.
It was in that moment that I realized in a new, profound way, that to tap into the most powerful energy we can ever access, we need to start with the heart. Not just for emotional energy, but for very real physical energy also, as they are inextricably intertwined.
I finally get it. For the same reasons it’s important to engage our hearts in our work (see OutWriteLiving.com) and in our everyday lives, it’s important to engage our hearts in our physical exercise routines. For me, music is that spark to the heartfire… and the joy fuel for my running.
Is it time to take even better care of your body? Start with your heart. Through your headphones.
And tell us in a comment here what you think about all that.