On Thanksgiving my girlfriend and I participated in Austin’s Turkey Trot, a road race that also serves as a fundraiser for a local organization fighting homelessness and poverty. In 2012 I ran the five mile event but this year we did the one mile run/walk. I juggled the entire time.
At the beginning of the race a news cameraman came over to me (while I was juggling) and opened his interview with “What are you doing?” I thought that the question was pretty stupid, but told him that I was juggling and that I would be juggling for the full mile. The cameraman’s next question: “Are you making any political statement?”
Are you serious?
I answered that I wasn’t juggling to make a political statement but added that people should do things that they enjoy, with a particular focus on things that make other people happy. The cameraman moved on, perhaps disappointed that my juggling tricks weren’t a subtle commentary on ethnic tensions in Cambodia or high-rises in East Austin.
Fast forward to today.
Earlier this morning I swam a couple of miles at my local pool. I had a wonderful time in the water, listening to a DJ set from Burning Man through 55 laps of front crawl. (I love my waterproof iPod Shuffle.) When I got home I checked my feed reader and ended up at this NY Times “Ask Well” article about the health benefits of swimming.
The exact question asked was “What are the health benefits to swimming vs. other aerobic exercises?” The question is a fine one but it highlighted for me how I approach exercise these days: I want to work my body regularly and have fun in the process. Intellectually I want to know a lot about the exercises that I am doing but the big picture is simple: “Work my body, have fun, and try to make other people happy.”
Relating my perspective to the Ask Well question, it’s much more important that I’m working out and enjoying myself than determining which sport is maximally beneficial. (Along those lines, the most beneficial exercises are of course the ones you actually do.)
In other news, I recently moved to downtown Austin and acquired a fez. Things are swell.