Thursday, May 2, 2013


The CDC and myriad other professional organizations recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise PLUS two days of strength training per week for adults. This has been touted all over the news and in innumerable health-ish news articles as an easy way to guarantee fitness and health, a magical number, the Golden Ratio, the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

And I'm all like:

But I happened to look up what is defined as “moderate intensity” exercise just now: walking (3 mph), water aerobics, slow bicycling, gardening. Um, what? Those don’t even register with me for exercise and I would always have called them low or zero intensity.

Have I been failing bare minimum recommendations because I pretty much ONLY do “vigorous intensity” types of movement? I should be elated because this knowledge makes perfect fitness more attainable, right?

But it makes me angry that I had to search for this definition and that there are so many other people who are alienated and feel themselves failures because they think they can't meet the same standards.

(This possibly should be two separate posts.)

On the path to knowledge, I learned about privilege including able-ism and that healthism is bad. I’m trying harder to learn what healthism isand why it’s bad and am discovering that I am probably a healthist prat myself. I found a very good explanation, though:

“No longer is health a normal state of equilibrium and no longer are doctors those to whom we turn only when this equilibrium is disturbed. 
Instead, our entire life, even in the complete absence of sickness, is implicated in the pursuit of more perfect health and greater longevity. We must not smoke or hang around smokers, drink too much, eat fat, breathe summer air in the cities, pursue dangerous sports and, of course, we must exercise to recapture some aboriginal state of fitness. Doctors have become the priests of this new cult of endless aspiration. They screen, check and warn the healthy, upbraid the sick and lecture us all on the multiple errors of our ways. Everything can be, as Skrabanek puts it, 'medicalised', every act can be shown to have health implications and can, therefore, form part of our lifestyle dossier being compiled by whatever recording angels inhabit healthist heaven.”
I've learned that healthism is problematic and some of the reasons why. Nobody is ever obligated to pursue health. But I haven't internalized it and may not agree with it . . . fully . . . yet. I like fitness and feeling good and I like having friends who do too, and we're pretty awesome and do awesome stuff, so I assume other people would want to, too. There it gets tricky. I see why it's a leap in logic, but I've been raised to believe that so much morality is based on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Just a few weeks ago, I learned this is a terrible idea because other people might really DISlike what you like for people to do to you! The surface understanding is there; the seed is planted, but it doesn't yet go deep enough to shape my words and actions.

Must . . . learn . . . moar!

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