Thursday, October 31, 2013

Everything In Moderation? Or just some things..

Often when we say those words "everything in moderation" we are justifying indulging in something that we know we shouldn't. Ok not always - let's say sometimes to be safe.

The first things to come to mind are certain foods-  junk foods. There is a huge list. Then there are other vices like alcohol, cigarettes, and for some - illicit drugs. Hopefully anyone reading this will agree that "a moderate amount of meth" isn't acceptable ever. lol Most doctors will say that 2 or 3 alcoholic beverages a day is acceptable for the general population of adults. Barring of course those with health conditions or medication that would make it contraindicative to consume alcohol. 

Then there are those things that everyone agrees are good for us. Healthy food, water, exercise, love, karate, work, friends, etc.  (did I mention karate?) Can an excess of any of these things be bad for you? (no argument about work here)

As a former Canada Post letter-carrier I constantly heard comments from people about how great my job must be- all the wonderful exercise that I got walking everyday. I still laugh at something one fellow said  - a guy who worked at a computer terminal. He said " I'd love to have your job, just walking around to offices with mail saying - here you you go" He doesn't realize how long and how far some carriers walk everyday- and that's with carrying weight. But from his perspective, stuck at a desk all day, it looked pretty attractive. The truth is, all that walking day after day for over 22 years can take a toll on one's feet and knees. Especially for someone like myself who spends a lot of time in bare feet doing karate. My wife Joanne is still a letter-carrier with 26 years of service and she- on the other hand -doesn't suffer from foot pain...with Jo it's her hips. The smart thing to do in this situation - where repetitive stress can cause chronic pain and injuries - is to start on an exercise program to combat the effect of that repetitive motion. This is what Jo and I practice.
Of course I went one step further and left the post office at the end of July in favour of operating my karate dojo full time and embarking on a personal training business.  Within just a few weeks I noticed an improvement in how I felt in the feet and knees and I proceeded to increase the weight in my squats and other leg exercises. So now I am in pain again! I have increased the attention that I'm giving to my quadriceps (thighs) and as a result, I allowed my hamstrings to suffer. This created an imbalance that I am addressing with varying exercises and increasing flexibility training.
I was so happy with the new-found freedom of movement in my knees that I overdid things. It was too much of a good thing. 

I think that the message here is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's mentally healthy to treat ourselves occasionally and give ourselves a break from being disciplined in some small way. Have a few potato chips once in a while- just don't eat the whole bag and run out to buy another. Similarly if we become too obsessed with our goals, fitness or career - wise, we can create other types of imbalance with our mental health, or with family and friends. It's important to be tuned in to the warning signs whether it's pain somewhere in your body, your clothes are getting too tight,or there is a strained relationship with someone close to you. Don't ignore the signs- make adjustments.

And remember to go to karate class