Thursday, August 2, 2012

Born to Run, or Born to Shop?

I run.  

Well, technically I’m probably jogging but every other day, I travel about four miles or so faster than walking.  What’s the difference?  If you’re not touching the ground at any given point during your stride then you’re running.
According to anthropologists, we were all born to run.  In fact, according to William Cromie we humans are (or were) particularly good at it.  Our bodies have evolved that way, but after some quick research on the web I discovered that only about 1 or 2 percent of Americans run.  Only one out of a thousand Americans have run (or jogged) a marathon.   The rates for compulsive shoppers (clinically addicted, meaning it’s a serious problem for them) is much higher, somewhere between 2 and 8 percent.  True, we all need to buy things, but personally, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t shop frivolously at least sometimes.  I think shopping wins.  We are a culture of consumers, probably the greatest ever.
So humans and our ancestors have been running for 2 to 3 million years and shopping for a lot less than that.  The first evidence of money is about 2,700 years ago.  This brings to mind the debate of nature versus nurture.  Are we shaped more by our genes or culture?  I suppose in this case, if the anthropologists are right, culture rules the day.  Even runners love to shop for really cool running shoes.

So next time someone tells you it’s their nature to do this or that, remind them about running…