Balance, Not Abstinence

A full life, driven by moderation

The Attitude Media approach is about enjoying a full and healthy life, not living like a monk. The key is moderation.

America is a great country, but great in part due to its inclination towards extremes. Restaurants compete to offer the biggest portion sizes; this is the land where the “sport” of competitive eating was born. But that doesn’t work with health, diet, or exercise. A moderate amount of chocolate, sweets, fat, and alcohol can all be part of a healthy diet, but any of them taken to excess will be problematic. Other cultures, certainly in Asia and Europe, are much better at encouraging moderation in vices.

The same balanced approach is required in exercise. If you run for a half hour a day, running for an extra 15 minutes isn’t going to make you any healthier, but adding a regular weight lifting routine will. Conversely, if you lift weights 4 times a week, adding a 5th day isn’t going to make you any healthier, but adding regular yoga almost surely will.

The value of intensity

Where does moderation not benefit you? According to quite a bit of recent research, in regard to the intensity of your workouts, more intense is better. So you want to really push yourself, whether you’re running, lifting, swimming, or playing volleyball. But this advice comes with many caveats; it assumes that:

• You have been exercising on a regular basis and thus your body is ready for a high level of intensity
• You are generally in good health, without heart conditions or other constraints
• You have properly warmed up during the actual workout session
• You are not very elderly, or very overweight
Also, even intensity should be taken in moderation. A good week of workouts might include a few short but intense weight training and/or cardio sessions, balanced with a longer slow jog, a leisurely bike ride, or beginners yoga.

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