Monday, April 09, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing?

It's a funny world we live in. It seems like every time something comes through that is perceived as "good" for us, there will be an initial period where a few outliers try it out, maybe see some positive results... and then the marketing and hype get a hold of it and suddenly everyone is doing it all the time, and touting it as the best thing ever...

The thing is, there usually is a tipping point where it becomes too much - but generally, by the time it's discovered way too many people are using/loving it, and the evidence to the contrary is dismissed... at least for a while. It seems much harder to eliminate things from our collective consciousness than it is to implement it.

A couple of examples come to mind - the first being barefoot running. A lot of the research shows that putting some barefoot training into the program allows for a certain degree of correction to your gait that may help to lower the incidences of knee issues... but this means a slow integration of barefoot running, and potentially just doing short (500m) repeats on a soft/grassy surface - not dropping the shoes for a pair of vibrams and hammering off a 5-10km the first time you try them.

Similarly with long distance running. Being able to run that 5-10km (usually in shoes) is good for your heart health - when you start adding in volume, distance and generally taking it to a higher/more intense level, you begin to see issues on the other end of the spectrum. In fact, this study demonstrates that competitive endurance runners actually show scarring and damage to their heart from the trauma of the training and races that they're doing...

To be clear - I'm not suggesting people "shouldn't run", or that we "should always be wearing shoes" - or any other absolutes. All I'm saying is that no matter what, extreme activities produce extreme results (on both ends of the spectrum) - but the extremes don't always create lasting effects and will sometimes create a "robbing from Peter to pay Paul" turn of events.

I find keeping Newton's 3rd law in mind to be a good check and balance to my days and activities: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.


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