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I’m Low Without My Runner’s High

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit Godessses,

I am a 52 year old man (emphasis on the old) and I want to feel young again without causing any wear and tear on the old joints.  I used to run often and play basketball but a knee injury derailed me.  I enjoyed the “runners high” and can’t seem to find that feeling from non-impact activities.  How do you propose I get back to running or do I just accept my fate?

Sincerely,  Will I. Jaugernaut

Dear Will:

K: Where’s there’s a Will, there’s a way. First, we see you are into accurate names and fun names. Accurate = “Goddesses;” Fun = “Will I. Jaugernaut.” Second, in our world, 52 is not old, but sprightly, especially if we you are active. So let’s focus on the “I want to feel young again and get high” part of the question. We assume you want to reach that goal without going back to the 70’s and relying on other, non-recommended methods. You know what “they” say about the 70’s: “If you remember them, you weren’t there.” That leaves us with the critical point that you have only two knees for the rest of your life. (Acquiring someone else’s knee parts through surgery does not count.) So the priority is to hang onto those precious knees and get lifelong use of them. As Will Shakespeare (two Wills in one post!) never said:- get thee to a non-runnery.  How about heading to an elliptical machine, stationary bike, or row machine? If being outdoors is what brings you that youthful feeling, hop onto a bicycle and enjoy the scenery. All the listed options minimize joint impact while allowing you to create as much or little intensity as you want.

A: One thing is to check your footwear. Lately, there’s a lot of research indicating that less is more when it comes to running footwear. If you think wearing “barefoot” shoes would decrease your knee pain, consider that as an option. Or run in the pool. That is much easier on the knees and you will get that “impact” feeling. As to accepting your fate, there is nothing we do about the name you’ve chosen! In that respect, you are doomed!

K: But we get it that what you really want to do is keep running. It could be that you have reached your lifetime limit on that much impact. Oooorrr, there’s still hope. Try integrating strengthening exercises for your hip abductors, hamstrings, and quads into your workouts (courtesy of this IDEA article). Check your form (or get a friend to check it or videotape you running). Heck, send me a check for that check! Maybe you are pronating, landing oddly, doing some kind of whacked out–yet subtle–form fault over and over, that you can fix once you know about it. Dude, I don’t like running and here I am working it, so give this all a try. Or not. After all, those nice, reduced impact cardio machines are waiting for you and your knees. Pant pant run run…..

Readers, runners, and exercise highsters: What gives you “runner’s high” without actually running?

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