I know this is going to be hard to understand. Yes, I know the conventional wisdom about walking short distances, etc. The thing is, walking, without any running (and downhill is my favorite) does not do anything but tire me out.
Part of this is the metabolic thing that I’ve been dealing with for most of my life. Because of under-responsive brain receptors (those that signal estrogen balance, sodium,calcium balance) my brain has had to use huge amounts of an amino acid (glutamate) to trigger the receptors (and make the homeostatic change necessary). Amino acid metabolism creates ammonia. The body can handle it under certain limits. My body has in the past created high enough levels that the brain has a hard time getting rid of it. That’s why I have the damage down the neck/shoulders/arms.
Although my cortisol levels are high, that isn’t what’s doing the most damage.
And so what I’ve found is that, unless it’s at least an hour of sustained aerobic activity (and running down is the icing on the cake for me), that ammonia doesn’t get burned out, breathed out, sweated out of my system, and I stay in the toxic cycle.
So, no, just walking doesn’t do it for me.
I know most people don’t like running. They don’t usually like running the same course. And they rarely like running downhill. I don’t know why it doesn’t even damage my knees or ankles since I’m slightly knock-kneed. But it doesn’t.
David–You don’t have to sell me on the benefits of running. But there is also the idea that it can be training your metabolism to function slower.
So I have needs to burn out the ammonia and I think that over the long run, I have deprived myself of full healing in all kinds of areas. Nothing heals totally.
Although I don’t look like the typical long-distance runner (i.e. like a Holocaust survivor) I do have the skinny arms, inability to put ANY muscle on them or my lower calves. I still don’t know if this is heredity or life-long under-nourishment. Like everyone, I’ve had only the best intentions–to eat good foods (low fat, low sugar, lots of liquids).
I can walk with my friend on her short walks (2 miles) and it might be alright. It’s more like socializing. But it doesn’t really give me the uplifting that running does.
After 35 years of running I know about starting slow. And I know usually how fast I recuperate. I can feel it. I don’t push harder than I can handle. It’s sort of a lifestyle change that I have to contemplate.
I suggested the handstands just because every so often, when I’m feeling good, I have this impulse to do handstands against the mountainside on one side of the road. I used to do it as a kid. But I’m too chicken now even to start it.
I’ve tried hanging off the bed and using my arms. (Do I sound weird enough for you now??) It’s the kind of thing that I’ll know when I feel the energy. And I’ll probably be chicken until I feel that. It’s the only “strength-training (as Matt suggested) that I can even contemplate wanting to do.
I’m not trying to be difficult–this is why these are hard decisions to make. And maybe why I’ve made wrong decisions in the past. But in the past, my “best” still wasn’t “normal”. My skin still doesn’t totally heal from anything. My energy hasn’t been reliable. Am I fooling myself to think that I can get to someplace I can’t remember being since I was…seven?? I’d like to think it’s possible. That’s the allure of this non-diet.