Charlie's Blog: The Gentle Path


The Gentle Path

DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician, healthcare professional, or a personal trainer. This advice is purely a personal testimonial. Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program.

The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom.

I have already written a post about sensibility, and this post is a companion to that post. None of these ideas is original with me but draws upon the ancient wisdom of the Middle Path and the Golden Mean. Over the last few years, I have come to reject what I refer to as "extreme ways." It's not that people do the wrong things. They just take them too far. They do not know how to take the Gentle Path.

The Gentle Path is a term I started to apply to my fitness ideas. I have run and lifted weights. I hated both of those things. When I discovered walking and its benefits, I knew this was the better way. This gentle path to fitness was better than the extreme path pushed by the culture. I now include bodyweight exercises and manual labor in the yard and garden in my regimen. This brought me to a question. Is this stuff that I do now hard? That really depends on where you are relative to the Gentle Path.

Those on the Extreme Path will mock the Gentle Path that I have taken. Conversely, those on the EZ Path will think that what I do is extreme. What I can say is the Gentle Path has made me feel better. My only regret is that I didn't go down this path sooner.

I think people on the Extreme Path are idiots. These are the folks who park as close as possible to the entrance of the gym. They take the elevator to the office gym where they get on the stair climber machine. They run marathons but won't walk a few blocks to where they need to be.

People on the EZ Path are idiots, too. These are the people who atrophy in their office chairs, easy chairs, and couches as they do absolutely nothing. I know why they do it. They know they need exercise, but they only see the ones on the Extreme Path. This is discouraging to them. Going on a walk or raking leaves doesn't count as exercise to the EZ Path people just like it doesn't for the Extreme Path people. It is either everything or nothing. They hold moderation in disdain.

The Gentle Path is a tough sell. If you have been on the EZ Path, the Gentle Path will feel like torture. If you have been on the Extreme Path, the Gentle Path will feel like cheating or a waste of time. Yet, the Gentle Path is the right path in adherence to the Goldilocks Principle. From my experience, the Gentle Path is mildly difficult. The difficulty is enough to provide a stimulus but not cause an injury.

I see people all the time on the Extreme Path and the EZ Path. I don't know what to say to them. Eventually, they both suffer from injury and illness. The information on the Gentle Path is already out there. Your health insurer and most responsible doctors would love it if you took the Gentle Path, and they provide information on it. That information gets drowned out by runners, triathletes, CrossFitters, bodybuilders, and others on the Extreme Path.

I doubt that I will ever reach people on the Extreme Path. I do hold out a glimmer of hope for people on the EZ Path. The sedentary lifestyle will kill you. I think they know it. They just need to hear that there is another path to take back to health and wellness that isn't the Extreme Path.