Friday, August 3, 2012

Dying for Fashion

I love watching gymnasts do their thing.  I'm surprised we don't see more of these wunderkinds between the Olympics every four years. With all the TV coverage though, adults seem to forget that these are actually young kids for the most part.  We have major societal issues with this sort of thing across all sports but that's another topic for discussion. Gabby Douglas' amazing performance has brought up another societal issue that is equally ridiculous and even more deadly than pushing little kids too hard for adult enjoyment.  The issue is not working out at all or under-exercising just because it might make us look funny.

I'm probably one of the worst people to point this out.  I relish slinging sweat in the gym and grunting louding while throwing kettlebells & climbing ropes in public parks.  I wipe my exertion induced snot on my inappropriately tight shorts.  During runs, I belch constantly just to keep the pipes loose, and I'm sure I have such horrible grimaces on my face during my workouts that I'd give this dog a run for it's money:
Mugly loved the attention I'm sure
So I've established myself as not fashionable with respect to exercise but that's all beside the point. Many people (men and women) are way too self-conscious or concerned about their appearance to go outside and push themselves physically. The flap over Gabby Douglas' hair highlights this. Twitter was loaded with negative comments about how bad her hair looked while failing to mention how badass of a physical and mental performance she was laying down on the rest of the world. I pulled this quote from an article covering this non-issue:
"The last time I checked, when you play a sport, you sweat. I know I do. And when a Black woman who has chosen to wear her hair straight begins to sweat, her hair will (not might) begin to revert back to its natural coily, curly or kinky state," she wrote. "Some of us are sitting up right now with our hair done but suffering from high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, obesity and/or a lack of energy. Oh, but the hair is on point."
Gabby had enough judges in London

Of all the lame excuses for being out of shape, not wanting to mess up your hair has got to be one of the top 3 (fear of sidewalk cracks is up there too).  We want to look our best but do a quick google image search for diabetes ulcer and see how lovely you'll look with gangrenous extremities.  That's not even mentioning that fat is wack too.

This is hardly just a black woman issue.  I know many a former elite athlete who left their sport after university never to train consistently again.  The lassitude, bulges, and negative self-talk set in and eventually they have the body that they never wanted to have.  The common casual factor that I've seen in these cases is vanity--they can't be elite so they don't want to even show up anymore.  This all-or-none, sport-is-just-for-kids mentality kills me and is actually killing us as a society.  Don't quit on your sport because you can't win; quit with the ego and enjoy the activity for what it is--a healthy & enjoyable time that pays dividends throughout life.
You may call this a cheap shot since he is older but so was Jack Lalanne and Stallone
Health and wellness is a lifelong struggle.  Temptations to cheat, skimp, or skip are always present.  Family and friends can be huge obstacles (find some new exercise friends in this case).  Pain, fatigue, and stress mount with food and drink being a ready salve.  There are enough excuses to be fat and out-of-shape already. We don't need to add  fear of looking funny while exercising to the list.

Don't take yourself too seriously, but take your workout very seriously.

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