Photo: AFC Clayton Lenhardt. Source: USAF
I have. It’s that euphoric feeling we get when we “push through the pain” of long-term, rhythmic exercise, like jogging or rowing or swimming. It’s not running, specifically, that gives us those feelings of elation and relaxation. It’s the duration. Studies show that moderate, repetitive exercise that lasts 30 minutes or more has psychological as well as physical benefits. After exercising, people tend to be more relaxed and more upbeat throughout the day.
The good news is that we don’t have to work out too hard to get this feeling. In fact, high-intensity workouts tend to inhibit our brain’s receptors. Instead, a moderate, steady pace tends to be best. This is bad news for folks just starting out, where just a jog around the block can be pretty strenuous. But it’s good news for older runners who may not have time to run 50 miles per week. It’s not the mileage, it’s the years!
Rhythmic, steady exercise seems best. Photo: John Sutton. Source: Geograph.uk.org
Our economy seems to be having a runner’s high right now. The Atlanta Fed’s latest estimate indicates that we’re growing at almost 4% per year right now, following 4.2% growth last quarter. That’s pretty intense, but it doesn’t seem that the economy is overheating. Despite many fears, inflation just isn’t taking off. Core inflation is clearly running at around 2%, and has been for several years. The Fed is clearly being assisted by forces in the economy that are holding inflation in check.
Some folks seem to get hooked on their runner’s high, getting edgy and irritable when they can’t get out. It’s also been found that mice can be addicted to running. When wheel-conditioned mice are cut off from their exercise wheels, they’re brains start over-stimulating them, sending out messages that indicate craving. By contrast, when they do run for long periods, they’re less anxious and more tolerant of moderate discomfort.
Let’s hope our economy can keep running and doesn’t get addicted to any more stimulus – from the Fed, from deficits, or from some other outside source. With the economy, as with our own exercise, the best long-term performance comes from within.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Charter Trust Company
“The Best Trust Company in New England”