I’m about to turn a light on in the dark room you call “why I don’t exercise.”
I’m not a person who particularly enjoys exercising, but I have found a sport–let’s call it an activity–which I do enjoy. It’s the jog/walk, or as I fondly call it, the jalk. If you’re not familiar with the term, let me explain. This exercise is a careful combination of jogging and walking, a union of medium and light aerobic exercise, timed at precise intervals so as to achieve exertion (but not to the point of difficulty).
Like most people, I want to lose weight and be healthy and fit. I wish, with all my heart, that those two things could be achieved by eating chocolate, but unfortunately, they cannot. So I have become a jalker. My reasons might persuade you to become a jalker, too.
Reasons: I want the benefits of exercise. I love being outside. But I don’t want to sweat too much or put my body through an inordinate amount of pain to accomplish these things. (Loose translation: I’m a pretend athlete.)
Benefits: Contrary to the opinion of real athletes, being a jalker has physical and emotional benefits. They are as follows:
- Elevated heart-rate
- Increased endorphins
- Burn calories
- Enjoy nature
- Less stress on joints
- Interval training
- Can still talk to friend while exercising
Procedure: Let me explain how jalking works. You should follow this approximate routine:
Begin by stretching. Then walk until you reach a shady area and proceed to jog at a slightly faster pace than brisk walking requires. Proceed at will, walking up inclines and jogging down inclines (any degree of incline will work—it doesn’t have to be a real hill). The exhilaration of the downhill will make you feel like a real athlete. The incline is where you engage in calling your mom, texting your kids, or chatting with your friends, especially if they are also jalking. You will be a bit out of breath talking during this time, but that intensifies the euphoria of pretending you’re an athlete.
Consistent participating in the sport of jalking will produce strengthened muscle tone, sustained positive emotional energy, and overall health. And you won’t get behind on simple communications.
I do have a few warnings, based on personal experience.
The intrinsic flaw to mixing the jog with the walk is as follows: 1) the level of ease and 2) the ability to self-regulate. If I were a real athlete, I would jog the whole time, or more likely, I would run. A jalker like me often finds it difficult to prioritize the jogging portion of the jalk because I am terrified of the run. Consequently, I may unconsciously minimize the jog portion.
However, if I push through the jogging portion, increasing the amount of inclines, etc., I find myself exercising at an increased level, setting personal goals (jog to the tree, jog up the hill), and decreasing the walking portions. This, I think, is the point of exercise. The secret goal of a jalker is to arrive at real exercise as if by surprise (like “growing in love,” instead of “falling in love.”) It might be possible for you to move from walker to jalker to jogger to runner. You might learn to love it.
Walking, of course, is great exercise in its own right. You must just keep in mind that walking is equally, if not better for your heart and joints, than jogging is. It just requires additional time to achieve the same results. And you might not sweat on a walk, which is apparently important to pretend athletes.
Learning to jalk in any weather is also important, because we pretend-athletes easily find reasons to deviate from our pretend sport. Too cold? Too rainy? Too hot? No problem. I can always go tomorrow. (I’ll just do an exercise video instead. But then my screen is filled with over-zealous, muscular athletes who annoy me within minutes. And I can’t text while the video plays, and there’s no pretty outdoors.) Thus begins the downward cycle into nothing.
So as you can see, jalking offers an alluring alternative to standard modes of exercise. Try it for a week and tell me what you think. Do you prefer running? Jogging? Walking?
No response? Then you are probably a real athlete, and you stopped reading this post a few paragraphs back. I salute you.
But that doesn’t mean I want to be you.
image by Jean Beaufort