“Three times two is six miles.”

“Fifty two weeks in a year.”

“Six times fifty is three hundred; this makes the math easier.”

“Thirty years.”

“Three hundred times thirty is nine thousand.”

“Nine thousand miles.”

“That’s about right. I have been jogging since my late twenties and I am fifty-seven now. I bet I have jogged more than six miles per week on average. I bet my average is closer to nine miles per week. After all, I normally jog every other day and each time I jog it is around three miles.”

“That’s over ten thousand miles!”

This is a conversation I had the other day while I was jogging. While jogging, the calculations I do in my head do not go much deeper; my mind is challenged by physical stress.

Now that I am at rest let’s give this more consideration...

I jog around eight minute miles. This means that I have spent around eighty-thousand minutes traversing cement, pavement, and dirt. Placed in the context of work, I have run enough hours to work full time from January through August.

Jogging can be disruptive to the daily activities of a busy life. Especially if it is considered as top priority. I have placed jogging above other activities well over three thousand times in my lifetime; I know it has caused disruption.

So is it worth it?

From a physical fitness standpoint jogging is very effective. With less than a thirty minute workout every other day I feel refreshed and healthy. I am ready to play that high energy tennis match, and take on any sport or “job duty” that requires large physical exertion.

I have a set rules for jogging: A session should be completed no more than every other day. Each session should be around three miles. Each session should be run at around eight minutes per mile. Finally, only during times of “extreme” conditions can a session be postponed for a day. These rules are about consistency; consistency with regard to the demands on time and on body. They are determined to ensure good health with a reasonable amount of discomfort.

But there is more to jogging than body maintenance. I would suggest that jogging is a good solution for mind maintenance as well. Jogging is uninterrupted “alone” time for reflection. It is time that one can spend in thoughtful contemplation on the topics and challenges of the day. It is a time that can be used to shape and simplify thoughts and build confidence in ideas and decisions.

Over the years, I have had over eighty thousand minutes available to use as needed for quiet contemplation; for mind maintenance. This time has made me a more restful and assured person. It has helped me make better decisions with regard to providing a better life for myself and those I love and care for.

Test this theory on yourself the next time you go for a walk, jog, or bike ride on your own. Follow your thoughts throughout the experience. Do you find that you spend your time solving problems? Do you spend your time revisiting the ideas of the day and reassuring yourself you are making the right decisions? If you do, imagine giving yourself a half-hour of uninterrupted time every couple of days alone for contemplation. Maybe you already do this?

Jogging has been a great solution for me but this article is meant to express a larger message: Mind and body maintenance should be a top priority. It is valuable to find an effective and consistent way to exercise your body and thoughts. Many forms of exercise provide for this need If you are able to find an exercise or group of exercises that you enjoy throughout your life: Congratulations!

The time I have spent exercising my mind and body have certainly shaped how I live my life. The constancy of a life-long routine has given comfort that all is and will be well. After thirty years, I still enjoy going for a jog.

“Maybe someday I will put on my shoes and head out for my usual jog, but it won’t be my usual jog. Maybe this will happen after I have reached the twenty-thousand mile mark. Maybe during the jog my heart will decide it is time to rest. Maybe I will lie down near the edge of the path and close my eyes for the final time. That would be fine with me.”