Skip to main content

10 MILES PER DAY


The notion that we are all descended from risk-takers is the subject of this month's National Geographic. Around 60,000 B.C. modern humans began migrating out of Africa, eastward across southern Asia to Australia, then into Europe, and lastly to the Americas and the South Pacific. Thus began a voyage into the unknown, that led to sea voyages, air and space discoveries and has culminated (for now) in an exploration of the universe.

In honor of our nomadic ancestors, writer Paul Salopek has embarked on a seven-year, 22,000-mile journey to follow in the footsteps of the first great explorers as they radiated out of Africa and across the planet. It is the trail of some of the first risk takers, who along the way took bites of unknown plants and encountered unknown species of animals, learned to traverse deep water, and discovered ways to sustain their body temperature in the cold. The idea for Salopek is to walk the daily length that nomads did when they left Africa 50,000 to 70,000 years ago. Scientists have found that to be about ten miles a day.

Ten miles. Per day.

Think about how far you walk, jog, or run each day - or don't. And the next time you lace up, or the first time for some, keep in mind your roots, and aim for a distance of 10 miles. For those with a pedometer 10 miles equals about 20,000 steps. The caloric cost of this level of activity, which takes only a couple hours to complete, is 1,000 to 1,500 calories, the equivalent of what some people burn in an entire twenty-four hours of sitting and lying down!

Traversing this distance (10 miles) even every other day would put you at 35 or so miles for the week. And doing so for just a few weeks would put you on course to run a marathon, thus catapulting you into a small and select group of the population who have completed 26.2 miles on foot - and enjoy it.

Note to Salopek: If he ran those 22,000 miles instead of walked them, we bet he could cut about 3.5 years off the length of his epic journey - but as they say, it's not about the destination but the ride. However, if you find yourself crunched for time, then speed up. Remember, we were designed to run fast. Think back to when you were a kid and how you loved to sprint around the playground. The fountain of youth consists of doing what you loved to do when you were young.

Running is in your blood. Honor your heritage by taking a risk and just go for it!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GRAY MATTERS

I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…

ON MIND-STUFF

I hereby proclaim that June is meditation month. And July and August and some of September too. For me at least. During the hundred days that comprise summer, give or take, I have taken it upon myself to "assume the position" for approximately one hour each day, usually divided into two 30-minute sessions. During this time I sit in front of a candle flame, let my breathing subside, and with it my mental activity, and literally count the seconds.

The reductive tendency that is emblematic of science has penetrated schools of meditation, and there are many, each of which advertises its particular breed as, if not being the best, at least boasting novel or specific benefits not found in other forms of meditation. 

For example, there is mindfulness, which is the monitoring of thoughts. There is concentration or focus, as on an object or the breath. There is transcendental meditation, which uses the inward repetition of a phrase, or mantra, to "allow your active mind to easily …

S.O.S

To be spontaneous or systematic, that's the question. Or SOS, as the Police sing. Within me these two opposing characteristics are ever at war. I suppose we're all born more of the former. What child is not up for a trip to the candy store on a whim? But our educational system drums in the systematic approach to problem solving. You must progress from number 1 to 10 on your test. Each class is 50 minutes long. Etc. And indeed having a schedule and being methodical can lead to greater material success. If you only do what you feel like you may never study math, or organize your closet. But enslaving yourself to a ritual can suck all the fun out of life. To reconcile the two approaches we've evolved the weekend, which is basically a short vacation from the rigid workday, a time to play in an unstructured way. The athlete has his rest days, a time away from play. The family has the trip to the Bahamas. There are semester breaks in school, though having an entire summer off is…