“I was dead for 14 billion years before I was born. So when I die again, I should be quite adept.” Richard Dawkins
Missiles In A Large, Empty Space
A battlefield exists, different than any you can imagine. It’s a place of infinite space, with everywhere to run, and nowhere to hide. It’s a theater where an ongoing battle takes place between the opposing forces of ability and reason, and where the tenets of can versus should attack each other daily, unprovoked. These opposing sides of a single concept, take orders from one leader – instructing both camps to fully leverage their potential against the other. The battleground I speak of…? You guessed it – it’s all in my head.
This battle between ability and reason, reaches for a clear answer to one simple question: just because somebody can do something in exercise or fitness, does it mean that they should?
To be born at born at all, is to have been automatically assigned a death sentence. To be born American, might expedite that sentence. Me
Can Vs. Should
There are many methods, trends, and agendas offered by many practitioners in fitness. Who’s to say what’s wrong in exercise, or what’s right? Just because a 73 year old woman can bench press 90 pounds, does it mean she should?
Before that question can be answered though, the question might also be raised: What might be the consequence of that action?
Question further: Could it adversely affect her health or quality of life?
Further still: Could it benefit her?
One more question: If the 73 year old woman can bench press 90 pounds without a consequence and chooses not to, is that choice wrong as well?
That was a sample inquiry, but the ideology behind it can apply to everyone who exercises regularly, within any genre of fitness. One has to exercise supreme honesty to benefit from this approach.
Framing Your Fitness
Fitness, is a word which has been hijacked and transmogrified over recent decades by varying factions from reasonable to bad intent, each wanting to wholly own the term and use the lure and the promise of that term to promote (usually) for-profit agendas – not necessarily consistent with what true fitness might be. Me
Here are 10 lesser questions to consider first, before you sign on to work with a trainer, or subscribe to a particular style of exercise:
- What is it you are trying to accomplish?
- What is the risk involved with your long-term and short-term health?
- Is your goal achievable?
- If it is achievable, is it realistic for you and your circumstance?
- How long will it take you to achieve your goal?
- How much time do you have to dedicate to this endeavor?
- Do you have the financial means to achieve this?
- What gets sacrificed along the way; family, work, friends, other hobbies, etc.?
- Will the results be worth the sacrifice, the investment of your time, and the investment of your money?
- Who are you really doing it for?
Only after these questions have been answered, can a form begin to take shape with one’s fitness structure. With these answers can come the framework of all that you might become. Still, there looms that other question, the 11th question: Just because somebody can do something in exercise and fitness, does it mean that they should?
Me, Over-Thinking All Of This – Again
Ultimately, the answer to this question is unattainable. However, I believe that asking this question can evoke a new perspective on the values, as well as the consequences of exercise – and make no mistake, there are consequences with exercise.
Most adults who take to exercise for the first time offer me this simple statement; “I want to look and feel better”. Good reason enough I suppose and it is probably be best left at that. However, I have always suggested people new to exercise contemplate the 10 questions above before they begin. As I grow older though, the 11th question has eclipsed the other 10; Just because somebody can do something in exercise and fitness, does it mean that they should?
In my life I have trained as a springboard diver, a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, a cyclist, and a sprinter. I have run every race from a 5K to a marathon – because I could and because I wanted to. Still, does that mean I should have?
And even if there is an answer to that question in the short term, it is likely that time will change that answer. As we grow older, the term fitness is likely to mean different things at different stages of one’s life.
I do believe this, and perhaps this is as close to an answer as I will ever offer to myself on the question: If I can, if I want to, if I don’t sacrifice too much to achieve it, if I feel there is some benefit, and my health won’t be adversely affected, then just maybe I should – but maybe not. Be well. rc