Mother’s Day Metrics and The Benefits of Exercise

I’m making a concerted effort to “turn off” at the end of the day.  Stop writing articles or programs, stop listening to audiobooks… but the idea of relaxing stresses me out.  I went halfway last night by watching several YouTube videos on the train, including one from Gary Vaynerchuk called, “What’s the [Return on Investment] of Your Mother?

If you think this is a guilt ridden belated Mother’s Day post, you’re wrong.  I love my mom, but I hate Mother’s Day.  The industrial complex that runs things interrupts the well-intended sentiment, and I think that we can do a little bit more than take one day to celebrate someone’s ability to create a child.  That’s biology.

Reproduction isn’t as mysterious as we’d like to think.  We know what happens; stop bastardizing Chaos Theory.  Making it meaningful, that’s where it’s important.

Imagine if you wrote a Mother’s Day card, or kept a list in general, of any of the particularly useful things that your parents have done for you.  That list would get really long, really fast.  It’s impractical to start one, and it would probably seem calculated to do so.  We’re people with authentic relationships realizing our potential to make them as rewarding as possible.  It’s simple.

Exercise would be just as simple, if we looked at it the same way.  If we took a day to appreciate all of the benefits of exercise, and then spent the other 364 days per year engaged in our exercise, finding our boundaries and learning as we go, we would be happier.

Many of the conversations happening in the medical and fitness communities still focus on metrics.  We think about body mass index, blood pressure, factors that contribute to heart disease and diabetes, but we never discuss happiness.  An unhappy person will rarely realize the benefits of exercise if they’re miserable from the very thought of exercise.  Attempts to quantify the return on investment from exercise are futile.  Why the fuck are you still talking about it this way?

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If you’re hell bent on telling people the physiological importance of quality sleep, a diaphragmatic breath, or why kettlebell swings are the solution to the Ebola virus, I ask you to do one thing:

Assess your audience.

Are you speaking with a medical practitioner or a fitness professional?  No?  Then reassess your language.  It would be awkward to spent Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day for that matter, listing the infinite ways that your parents or care takers have helped you grow.  It’s often just as awkward when you spout off the benefits of nutrient timing to someone with a membership card to CinnaBun. (I’m not sure if that’s really a thing.)

Every goal for moving can be considered about health or hotness, and those are ultimately about happiness.  We’re all on our own path to happiness, with different definitions of what that is, and must realize that all that glisters is not gold.  Some of the best coaches that I know excel because they don’t talk about exercise science, but because they coach psychology.

It would seem ridiculous to answer the question, “What’s the ROI of your mother” but we obsess over fitness metrics every day.  If your answer to a question starts with, “According to the research…” this is for you. Cut that shit out.

Create the same authentic interaction that you’d like to have with your loved ones and stop relying on facts and figures to create context.  Make happiness the context.

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