Shrugging off warnings about heat exhaustion, dehydration, and running being hard on the joints, a small but committed sector of the American population continue to cling to their obsession with extreme sports, like jogging and power-walking.
“It's fun,” said extreme exerciser Jeremy Booker of his daily three-mile run in Nashville's Shelby Park. “It feels good to get my blood pumping a little.”
Offhanded as Jeremy might be about his daily jog in the park, his wife, Maggie, is concerned about the toll that Jeremy's extreme exercise habit could take on his health. “I worry about his blood sugar,” she said. "And his electrolytes. And I really hope he's getting enough protein. And on top of everything else, he might even be anorexic - he sometimes goes hours without eating!" She rolled her eyes affectionately. “He's bonkers, but I love him."
Another hardcore extreme exerciser is Cassie Malone of New York City, who goes for a lunchtime power-walk every other day in Central Park when it's not raining. “I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie,” she confessed. "Sometimes I'll even break a sweat.”
Cassie says that her boyfriend, Nick Chase, an environmental reporter, is always urging her to take things down a notch.
“He's into energy conservation,” Cassie explained. “On both a global and individual level.”
As if power-walking and jogging weren't extreme enough, Rich Crawley of Billings, Montana, has even been known to hike spontaneously – in his regular clothes.
“It's not like it happens all the time,” Rich emphasized. “It was really just the once. I went out for a drive and saw this cool little mountain trail, and next thing I knew, I was walking down it. I was wearing jeans and regular tennis shoes, but it was just so pretty outside, I couldn't resist.”
He added with a wink, “Don't tell my sister, but I didn't even have my cell phone with me." He shrugged mischievously. “I know, I know. But it's who I am. Life is short, you know?”
Troubled by her brother's extreme, often unplanned bouts of exercise, Rich's sister Laura confided, "I'm afraid he's borderline manic. I've been talking to my doctor about it. I'd like to talk to his," she added, "but he hasn't got one.”
She shook her head ruefully. “There you go! That says it all right there.”