Running Away From The Problem

Seeing me jog across the park is similar to seeing a luminous puppet being flung about by a concussed eight-year-old with ADHD. In fact, remember that episode of friends where Phoebe runs weird? Imagine watching that through a refracted lens. Not only is it a shambolic and graceless spectacle, but I could probably be lapped by a tortoise.

I’m bad at jogging is the general picture I’m trying to paint.

However, there are some things that are so important, you need to be willing to do them badly.

I got into jogging last year and I lost 4 stone. Earlier this year I got lazy and stopped. I put on about half a stone. What really sucks about this is the following; first, I have a hiatus hernia. My stomach overlaps my diaphragm. Long story short, if I even contemplate over-eating, I’ll throw up in my mouth like a cud chewing bovine. At absolute best, I’m a constant burp machine. Running helps with this.

Second, I have a long history of depressive episodes. Lately I experienced a mid level one. That means I don’t quite want to cause myself any physical injury, but I do need everyone to simultaneously hug me and tell me it’s all going to be alright whilst shutting up and leaving me the fuck alone. Running helps with this. It fills me with endorphins, makes me feel better about myself, and allows me to sleep better. I know it does. Yet I stopped doing it.

I’m not what you’d call a natural sportsman. I’ll never be any kind of athlete. Not just because of my general wobblyness, but because I’m not that competitive when it comes to sports. I couldn’t give a tigers testicle if one team sportsed harder than the other, and I’ve started to resent others for that, which is annoying. I don’t like to think of myself as a resentful being. But hey.

The truth is, for men in the UK, health belongs to the competitive. Cross country running was never sexy. All the lads wanted to play football, or RUGBY, because that’s how you become socially accepted, ‘cool’, blah blah blah. I tried these sports. I was shit at them, but I tried anyway. You kinda had to. Kids took the piss in the way that kids do, I grew to hate sports because they became synonymous with humiliation, and all the naturally competitive twats developed a taste for exercise early in life while people like me learnt to avoid being stepped on when the ref wasn’t looking and experienced genuine surprise if a ball was ever passed to me.

Honestly, I’m not trying to blame everything on shit school experiences. The reasons for my depression are complex and hard to explain. The factors in my developing poor eating habits came down a lot to boredom and the fact that shovelling food into ones face is very comforting.

Thing is, though, I can’t help but wonder if a more education- based, less competition-orientated approach was taken in school in regards to physical exercise, we might spend a little less on anti-depressants in this society.

That may be a little bit of a reach, but hey. It’s been on my mind, right now.

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