October 6, 2009
I've been a runner for over twenty-five years. I ran cross-country in high school but gave it up in my twenties. As thirty approached, I realized my body was not serving me well, so I took up the sport again.
Over the years I worked my way up to three miles, then five and then seven. Eventually I ran a couple of Chicago marathons. But now each year I settle for one modest 10K in western Michigan in which I try to beat my age--setting my goal at one minute for every year.
I'd always heard about the runner's high and the greater energy levels that carry you through the day. I've never experienced either.
But I did notice one remarkable result from running. I stopped getting the flu. Before I started running, I'd be laid up in bed with a high fever for a day or two every six months. After I started running, I'd get sick maybe once every two or three years.
Each fall I encourage everyone who works for me to get a flu shot. Hey, our insurance even pays for it. If only one person out of ten doesn't get sick for one day because of flu shots, we've more than covered the cost of the ten shots--and we've saved someone from a day of misery. It just makes sense. So does exercise.
Of course I enjoy quoting G. K. Chesterton, Britian's most rotund literary critic, who said, ''Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes.'' But if you're looking to do your best or just want to make sure your boss knows you're around each day making a contribution, the answer can be as simple as getting regular exercise and maybe that little flu shot.