Fitness & Health

Fitness and health

by Devon Fourie

“Suffer the pain of discipline or suffer the pain of regret”. This is one of the many fitness motivation messages we are constantly bombarded with. Magazines show pictures of guys with ripped torsos and veins that could be used to map out the Gauteng province! These guys are tanned to perfection –  even our friends at the coast are jealous!. And of course, the ever present “6 Ways to get her into bed”  or “10 Ways to keep him interested”  articles. Even our super heroes went through a transformation, back in 1948, superman looked flabby and out of shape compared to a ripped muscular 2013 version.  These days there is more pressure on the superheroes to look good then to save the world. And that value is reflected among us mortals – good looks are very important and goes along with an image of wealth and success.

Young men and woman purchase these so called “Fitness magazines” and start to obsess over these fitness models and movie stars. Their every post is followed on social media, and thousands of Rand are spent on supplements and programmes which promise results. Unfortunately, and to many young people’s great disappointment, the results which they get are not anything close to what the magazine cover had promised. So, it is on to the next programme, and in many cases young people start taking anabolic steroids.  In my opinion, the steroids aren’t the worst problem, the worst problem is the mentality that follows – the obsession, the “beast mode” (another fitness mantra), and the vanity. We get so caught up in the pursuit of achieving these perfect physiques, that our morals and identity gets lost in the process. It is all about me, me, me!

These days men suffer from disorders like Bigorexia –A mental disorder in which the sufferer perceives himself to have inadequate musculature, most common among Bodybuilders. It was first conceptualized as a health risk in the late 1990s. Woman and some men suffer from eating disorder like Anorexia – an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.

Health and fitness is absolutely necessary, for physical and mental health. But as we see it can also cause some serious problems when our happiness suffers. Blaming only social media would be unfair.  We need to look at our parenting skills and the values which we teach our children. Our human nature is made up of four magnificent parts namely, mind, body, heart and spirit. Corresponding to these four parts are four intelligences, physical intelligence, mental intelligence, emotional intelligence and spiritual intelligence. When we set more value to one of these and neglect the others, we become unbalanced. And being unbalanced makes us unhappy. So exercise, eat healthy food, pray, love and learn.