This morning I saw a woman jogging alongside the road, dog in tow. She was fairly out of shape, not obese, but definitely overweight. Her form was an injury waiting to happen (probably already had) and she could have walked faster than she was jogging.
The thing that made me notice her though was her face. She was in obvious pain. Her eyes were narrow slits burning holes in the pavement ahead of her. Her mouth was a snarl. She reminded me of a slow motion battle scene from the movies – she was engaged in an epic struggle. She was running to destroy the parts of her that she didn't like. She was trying to escape from her own body, and her approach means that it’s a fight she’ll most likely lose.
This makes me sad.
We shouldn't battle our bodies, or try to defeat them or conquer them. Even though this mentality is very popular with trainers and gyms and slogan writers, it’s almost always going to end in failure. And it’s a dismal way to engage in life.
Exercising and training and movement should be a celebration of your body’s ability to do the amazing things that it is capable of. And if you can’t do all the amazing things you want to do just yet, that’s ok – appreciate what you can do. Enjoy the simple acts of everyday life and learn to develop and love the fine machine that you’ve been gifted with. Develop your possibilities and practice gratitude towards your abilities.
The jogging woman and I live in a beautiful place full of hills and woods and trails. She could have been enjoying a scenic hike that would do much more for her health and appearance than the jogging she was doing. She and her dog would be having a lot more fun too. But somewhere along the way, someone had convinced her that exercise was supposed to be a test of will. And so there she was, painfully hobbling along the road and sucking up exhaust fumes, all in the name of looking and feeling better.
Where ever you start from today, have fun with your training. Enjoy life. Push your limits, but in a fun and positive way. There are plenty of things you need to battle in life, don’t make your body one of them.
Stay Alpha –