Pedaling through the foothills near Hanging Rock State Park, my buddy Mo and I began discussing the propensity people have to bail on exercise, may I say, before it kicks in. Upon realization that we were a few hours out with a few more to get back, we began to quietly question our own resolve, hence the discussion. Neither one of us tends to make much sense, but on this particular day we managed to channel our inner Lance/Buddha/Jesus (wait, that’s who Lance thinks he is!) and come up with some interesting commentary.
Main points included:
>Intensity forces us to make a choice, a commitment. Present day society is not all too inclined toward such things. There in lies the possibility of pain and anguish.
>The spoils of exercise are quite charming, yet the price can often place folks outside their comfort budget. Know someone who quit making payments on a car they just had to have? Ever cut a 50-minute workout short because you convinced yourself you’d done enough? Us too.
>What about “Hitting the Wall”?: How many folks really know what they’re talking about when they’re talking about it? Our guess is they’re just guessing.
>“Where can we find a good porchetta panini around here?”
(blood sugar dropped and we got a little distracted)
What’s obvious: Intensity is relative. One man’s marathon is another man’s 5k. Strength is for the choosing, a gift of engaging life’s struggles. Not so much an award, for often awards go to the victor. In this context the gift is divine, to be valued and utilized throughout life’s endless challenges. Case in point is our fitness. We use it to do many things, from treating depression to improving memory, with the power to cure a host of problems while preventing even more.
If you believe fact is not reality, and that perception serves as truth, then exercise should be your ally. Exercise at vigorous levels increase the release of geeky stuff like neurotransmitters and endorphins. These little gems affect the reward centers of the brain that mimic those of highly addictive drugs like morphine. The problem for most folks is this process doesn’t really kick into your workout until you’re at the 30-minute mark. Unfortunately this lag time creates a sad reality: The discomfort of exercise is more immediately felt than its benefits. This creates a lapse in time between the pain and pleasure elements of exercise, sadly disappointing our need for immediate gratification.
“The Bottom Line”: The Wall (sorry Pink Floyd, no royalties here) is a sacred place where much can be learned. Great counsel can be found in the writings found on The Wall. Guidance you can’t read anywhere else. It’s kind of a Lord of the Rings thing, just a sweatier Gandalph clenching a kettle bell. Which brings to mind a quote by our Celtic little buddy: “Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.” Alright, a bit heavy on the imagery, but evidence that even J.R. Tolkien can relate to sort of privileged education exclusive to those who push beyond the limits our egos and society place upon us.
“What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
Often our lives, like exercise, pose opportunity disguised as hard work. We should keep in mind not to fear the reaper. Just keep pushing ourselves close enough to The Wall that we can read the fine print. And maybe, if we squint a enough, we’ll see the panini on the other side.