Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Walking is Hard Work

I would like to lodge a formal complaint against anatomy, physiology, exercise as a whole, or any combination thereof. I’m not sure who I should complain to here on earth, however, and I’m not about to complain to God about how my body works. That would be like complaining to Samsung about how my cell phone works. It’s so incredibly complicated and so, so far past my capacity for understanding it, that I have literally no leg to stand on there.

Speaking of legs to stand on, that’s what my formal complaint centers around. Since there’s no earthly authority in charge of this, I believe at this point that I’m just lodging a formal, public whine. So be it.

Here’s my problem: I’m a recovering engineer. No, not my engineer-ish social awkwardness. The other problem. The fact that after a technical college education and a lengthy career in engineering design and implementation, I understand the physical laws of the universe fairly well. At least, the physical laws of motion.

For example, and to my point, work is work. It doesn’t matter if I move one pound up ten feet in the air all at once, or if I move that same one pound up one foot a day for ten days. When I get to ten feet, the amount of work I’ve done is the same for both scenarios. The difference is in the amount of power that was required. Power involves a time component. Work does not. The social awkwardness problem comes in when I think people want an explanation of that concept at dinner parties.

The complaint, or whine, that I am lodging is that walking versus running should work the same. My problem is that I have recent empirical proof that it does not.

We just got back from Washington D.C., where we walked for six straight days. My main/only form of exercise is running. And when I say running, I mean jogging. And when I say jogging, I mean slowly. I run three miles, three days a week. That’s nine miles a week. I think that’s pretty good for a fifty-year-old guy who likes chocolate more than he should. At least, I thought it was pretty good.

Here's my complaint: None of my running prepared me for the walking, and the walking didn’t translate back to the running. Allow me to explain.

My feet hurt in D.C. My legs hurt. I was tired at the end of the days. My feet and legs don’t hurt after running. By the laws of the universe, if I can run three miles in a day, I ought to be able to walk at least nine or so, right? I mean, I don’t really know what the conversion is, because I’ve never timed my walking pace for a mile, but it’s got to be at least three to one against my running, right. I do both very slowly!

We walked a lot, but I don’t think we ever got anywhere close to walking nine miles in one day on the trip. The Smithsonians are big, but they’re not THAT big.

Anyway, we do all that walking, amazed at how tired we are from it, then come home and take a nice two-day break before resuming normal activities. If all the walking was inexplicably wearing me out so much, I should have been getting in better shape, not worse, right? Well, let me tell you, my first attempt at running was pathetic. Or should I say, pathetic-er than normal.

I was sucking wind! It felt like I hadn’t been doing anything for a month. And our sample size of test subjects is not just limited to one overweight, marginally-athletic fifty-year-old man. Our super-trim, very athletic sixteen-year-old, Son Number Two, was right there with me doing all the walking in our nation’s capital. He came home to a lacrosse scrimmage and was a pathetic mess trying to run up and down the field as a midfielder. It was sad.

I am not OK with doing all that work and getting seemingly no return on it whatsoever. Work is work in physics. It should be the same in physiology!

OK, enough whining. I obviously need to get back to work.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2022 Marc Schmatjen


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