Friday, December 2, 2011

Is Physical Strength the most important thing?

 (obviously not me)

There have been one or two recent articles on this very question.  As a middle-aged man who routinely works out, I'll 'weigh'-in on this question.  When I was much younger, I never gave my body or strength a second thought.  Though I was on the lean side, my stamina always bounced back from whatever apparent temporary misfortune befell it.  Sickness?  Hangover?  Physical labor?  I could shrug them off with ease.

But after age, oh thirty-something, I noticed that my recovery time was getting worse and worse.  I also was suffering from higher blood-pressure, increased weight gain, and a general laziness that made life a little less exciting.  It was then that I started to work out - thanks to viewing the documentary Pumping Iron.  I never quite aspired to be a professional bodybuilder, but I did want the confidence that strength gives you.

A serious of misfortunes - a pair of broken ribs from an unrelated accident, the diminishing free time that a family brings, and my own laziness stopped me from ever getting real serious with weightlifting.  But turning 40 changed all of that.  I'm lucky enough to still have a full head of hair and some (at least to my eyes) fairly youthful looks.  To prolong my youth, I decided to seriously tackle a workout regimen once again.

I'm now stronger than I have ever been.  I can lift, squat, and bench more than I ever could, even as a young man.  It does give you a confidence, dare I say swagger, when dealing with everyday life.  When I walk into a meeting or have to go somewhere public, I know if some situation arises, I can be up to the task.  I'm not talking fighting, though that is part of the equation, but dealing with emergencies.  If I get hurt, or have to help someone else, I know I can count on my strength to be there.  I also know that predators - the muggers and bullies of the world - will look elsewhere before picking me first.

For a good start, I recommend Everything You Know About Fitness Is a Lie and Starting Strength.

Regarding the original question - of course strength is important, but so is love, happiness, health, and success.  If you think life is a question of balance, then try to be the best of all things.

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