Before you get too excited (or disappointed) about this month’s installment, it is not about the latest extreme sports. The age of social media has validated what we have known about humanity since the dawn of time…...everyone has an opinion. It has also confirmed that opinions, many times, differ to the point of blinding one’s ability to consider the ideas of others. Welcome to the world of extremism. The good news is exercise belongs in the lives of every person. No opinion or philosophy can refute the benefits of exercise.
For those whose philosophies derive from immunity and personal responsibility, exercise is the ultimate personal benefit. Taking care of ’number one’, as it relates to health and wellness, is admirable and controllable. Each individual chooses to make exercise part of life or not. Regularly exercising is the only choice if personal benefit is truly a primary concern.
For those who form philosophies from an empathetic point of view, living an active lifestyle also applies. Personal health benefits have an effect on society as a whole. The best way to reduce healthcare burden and costs is to prevent illness. Although the latter is easy to say and everyone agrees with it, the proper steps to make it happen are not always followed. Creating a healthier society starts with each individual’s choice of practicing preventative medicine. Exercise is a primary preventative medicine factor.
Although exercise is beneficial for all extremists, extreme personalities should take note from us moderates. Jumping in to exercise with too much vigor or tunnel vision can result in short term benefits, but failure in the long term. As human beings, we are all susceptible to the challenges of behavior change. In order to sustain a behavior, particularly regular exercise, moderation may be the ally you need. If you happen to have an ’all or nothing’ or ’my way or the highway’ approach to things, take a step back and consider these facts (and fact check them if you feel inclined):
- Exercise is most beneficial when it is consistent and lifelong. Over training injuries are a real concern that can lead to inconsistency.
- There are many different modes of exercise that will generate health benefits. Like opinions, one size does not fit all and it is OK to consider other options.
Taking an extreme approach to exercise without considering the long term goal of lifelong health may set some up to fail.
The term, moderation, is used regularly when discussing ‘unhealthy’ behaviors. Articles about eating healthy will include sweets in moderation or alcohol consumption in moderation. Rarely is moderation a strategy when it comes to exercise. So much of health promotion is getting people moving. Any implication of holding back on healthy activity is thought to be counterproductive. As in other facets of life, moderation has a role in exercise. For some it could protect them from themselves in avoiding burn out or injury. For others moderation may make consistent, lifelong exercise achievable. Exercise is important for all, no matter how extreme you are.