Discipline: The 5 Practices – Practice 3

Exercise, Health, Discipline, Balance

Balance, a key aspect of health. It starts with how you approach exercise…

This practice is short, and you may see it as an extension of the previous practice, but since it can be applied separately, I chose to treat it this way.

The practice is deceptively simple, and it is possible that only few will relate to it. It may be because it is nowhere near applying to you, in which case that’s great. It may be because you are denying it, in which case I hope this short discussion will at least raise some flags in your mind.

Here it is: Maintain the balance.

As you exercise regularly, perhaps even train in a specific sport like running or triathlon, allow yourself to relax from time to time.

In other words: Don’t be a “stick-in-the-mud” always focused on your training. Allow yourself some leeway, through activities with family and friends or even by doing other sports just for fun.

Too many sports or fitness enthusiasts, particularly if they discover such physical activities later in life, go overboard and spend way too much of their time, energy, and money, pursuing exclusively that activity.

Many call it “having a passion”; however, although I’m no psychologist, from the perspective of a coach it smells a lot more like “being obsessed.” It is as if the new-found activity is a pressure release valve from something else (everything else?) in life. And it ends up taking too much space.

Or the activity is taken so seriously that it prevents the spreading of the joy of moving to others. I’ve seen it: Perfectly good opportunities to share one’s enjoyment of, say, running, with a partner or friend because it is not “optimal training.” What a shame! Partners/family and friends should come first, at least some of the time.

(Shameless plug: I did write about training with a spouse or life partner before. It is worth reading, if you can spare the time…)

Let’s be clear: If you do not move everyday, if you do not exercise regularly, you need to move more. That’s what you need to do to obtain and maintain the balance that you’ve been missing so far.

If you are in that group of folks who move a lot, and then move some more, and spend lots of time and money on your sport/training, you need to take a step back and relax a little.

Because going overboard in anything is unhealthy.

Especially if the focus is on looking a certain way, or performing to a certain level. That is unhealthy in so many ways that it warrants an entire post of its own. So I’ll leave it for now.

Passion is fine, though I would reserve that for sentiments like love, and perhaps an over-arching goal in life. Most of the time, what is described as a passion is in fact a fixation, an obsession.

Consider: If a key part of getting fit is to pay close attention to how our bodies feel, then it stands to reason that we should also pay close attention to how our minds are doing.

Listen to your body, and to your mind; both will tell you how exercise is making them feel. Beware of a mind that constantly turns to training, that finds refuge there from other aspects of life. Remain in control; maintain the balance.

The easiest way to achieve this is to relax, take things less seriously. And keep a clear order of the priorities in your life.

Picture from Pixabay.

This blog is open to discussions. Feel free to comment.

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