“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Last week, I was taking care of my girlfriend’s yard when the above quote came to mind. I use a manual, human powered, push mower and non-mechanical hedge clippers. I edge the lawn using hand held clippers. I worked for three hours in beautiful sunshine with the only scent in the air being that of fresh cut grass. There were neither lung chocking emissions, nor noise of motors nor engines to spoil the idyllic day.
A neighbor happened by and asked me about my non-mechanically aided endeavorer. I stated it was not only enjoyable, but there was something very fulfilling to accomplish a task utilizing nothing but the strength of my body. The person said, “But sometimes it is just better for work to be easier.” I disagreed, however, I seem to be in the minority.
In today’s society we seem to have slipped into a false truth — that if it is easier, it is better. We have remote controls for everything; the television, garage door, fans and even air conditioners all have little devices so we no longer must heft ourselves out of our comfy seats and move. Hell, if you count the clapper, we don’t even have to get off of our rear-ends to operate a light switch.
Go out in public and you will find doors that open automatically, two-story shopping malls with escalators and you need but a wave of the hand to start water flowing from a sink or dispense a paper towel. We don’t even have to flush the toilet.
In society today it seems that we are always looking for the path of least resistance. The path that takes the least amount of work is the path most chosen. Even in the gym, where people are working out to get more fit, one can observe the same pattern. If say a person wants to use 50 pound dumbells for an exercise, but the weight is not there, many will go down to the 45′s instead of up to the 55′s.
Why not, while using proper form and safety precautions, test one’s self and go up in weight a bit? Why not make it tad harder?
We are bombarded by marketing ploys that are supposed to make being healthy easy. Products will help us lose weight without any effort, they even market exercise machines that will magically produce results with little to no effort. Isn’t the point of exercise to promote effort?
Everywhere you travel foods of convenience dot the landscape. Sugar filled, carbohydrate loaded junk is marketed and often promoted as health food. Atkins, Low Carb, Paleolithic and Primal diets are dismissed by media “doctors” such as Dr. Melina Jampolis and “experts” who receive income from the industries that are destroying health.
We have moved away from the “Strenuous Life” President Theodore Roosevelt so extolled.
Our schools continue to cut out recess and shortened gym classes, yet President Roosevelt used his belief in the strenuous life to overcome childhood ailments. He strongly believed in the adage that a fit mind requires a fit body to house it. He exercised, engaged in sport, he even skinny dipped in the Potomac River during the winter. While even under the best conditions, I would never consider swimming in the Susquehanna River as it runs along the Pittston to Wilkes-Barre corridor, I admire Teddy’s attitude and drive when it came to pursuing The Strenuous Life.
Our current President took more than a year to fill positions on The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sport & Nutrition. So, as the First Lady was admirably campaigns to increase awareness of childhood obesity, President Barack Obama delayed action on the council that was founded to encourage American children to be healthy and active. Am I missing something?
In his 1899 address before the Hamilton Club, in of all places Chicago, Teddy Roosevelt asked the question, “Who among you would teach your boys that ease is to be the first consideration in their eyes—to be the ultimate goal after which they strive?
It seems that by today’s standard, the answer would be; most. Thanks to the conveniences of modern society life is easier. However, considering the soaring obesity rates, both adult and childhood, are the results of ease worth the price?
So I ask the question — Are we teaching our young men and women to strive for ease? If we are — How much damage are we doing?
Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white.
Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,
Doc Joe Leonardi is the author of two books on weight loss and fitness. Obesity Undone and Sometimes the Bastard Returns. Both available on CreatSpace.com and Amazon.com.
Obesity Undone, is the 2nd edition of the life changing book Fat Then Fit Now. Obesity undone is weight loss and fitness uncomplicated. On March 1, 2008, Physical Culturist and Chiropractor Doc Joe weighed a ponderous, pachydermian and unhealthy 340 pounds. One year later he weighed in at 210 pounds.
In Sometimes The Bastard Returns Doc Joe Leonardi discusses the very real problem of obesity relapse. How it happened to him, and how on the verge of giving up,he reclaimed his health, wellness and fitness.
Doc Joe is also available to speak to your group, and for interviews. You may reach him at FatThenFitNow39@gmail.com
************The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.*************