CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS?
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
This phrase was coined by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith who did not consider it a compliment. He said” We associate truth with convenience, with what most closely accords with self interest and personal well being or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self esteem. Economic and social behaviors are complex, and to comprehend their character is mentally tiring. Therefore we adhere, as though to a raft, to those ideas which represent our understanding.
To rephrase, in Galbraith’s view conventional wisdom must be simple, convenient, comfortable and comforting but not necessarily true. How can or does this apply to working out and fitness? Would it be legitimate to measure some of the buzz words and myths which abound in the fitness world against the above criteria?
In my opinion people may use and cling to buzzwords such as “toning”,” longer leaner muscles” and “sculpting” for just the above reasons. Mantras such as higher reps and lower weights to tone, cardio burns fat, weight training will make you bulky and find an exercise which you enjoy to ensure you stick with it are also forms of conventional wisdom. Concentrating on how long a workout takes or how many calories it burns, the quantity of the effort and not the quality falls into a similar grey area between truth and fantasy. What exercise burns the most calories, how do I shrink X and what can I do to lose X pounds in Y week seem at times to fall into the simple, convenient, comfortable and comforting categories, without a foundation in reality.
I think that when we approach our health and fitness with a clear approach and understanding that it has to be integrated into our daily lives we will achieve the results desired and goals set will be met. There is no magic wand, pill or potion or new and innovative workout which will accomplish the desired results and goals set. Learning anything new takes time but also takes effort on our part, it is an interactive process and becoming fit requires the same. Exercise should not become some form of OCD but rather something as integrated into our lives as eating, sleeping, showering and brushing our teeth. Perhaps this is the unconventional wisdom we need to internalize.