There's a fitness analogy I've been using lately: Do you choose to go fast or far? The fast, represents the throw caution to the wind route, that is willing to risk injury and long-term health, in pursuit of greatness. Bodybuilders who jeopardize their future health for jaw-dropping muscular hypertrophy are an obvious example. Others include: the NFL Hall of Famer living with a concussion related brain injury, the major league baseball pitcher with tendinitis and a torn rotator cuff. Knee ailments are common among retired NBA players due to joint wear and tear caused by jumping, sharp pivots and changes in direction. Tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics at the competitive level, frequently lead to severe and chronic pain, mobility impairments, and loss of full limb functionality later in life. The Soviet Olympic team scandal is a recent example of the quest to go fast. A study by the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Keele University School of Medicine, in the UK reveals that the incidence of injury is significantly different between levels of sports involvement . Injury occurrence in athletes competing at international and regional/county level was higher, 87.5% and 64.0% respectively, than those who competed at national (16.7%) or recreational level (47.1%). The far, is a moderate approach to ones activities with the emphasis on consistent effort over time.
Sports and fitness activity with the focus on healthy, pain-free living, will not lead to championship medals. Practitioners of this sort will never be called the Greatest of All Time. However if long-term health is not your number one concern, and you choose to go fast rather than far, be willing to accept the consequences. I work directly with clients with late stage Parkinson's disease. The late Muhammad Ali was my boxing idol, but the physical consequences of his greatness far exceed my desire to achieve his level of boxing excellence. So, should you choose to travel in the sports and fitness fast lane, be aware of the potential consequences before you embark on your journey. Then in your post-glory years, forgo the fist pounding and 'why did god do this to me?' lamenting, when the debilitating pain bill arrives.