How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young

How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young

Author:Damon Young [Young, Damon]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780230771581
Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Eiger: a limestone lie detector.

Gymnastics, which seems far less dangerous than climbing, is equally brutal, and encourages a similar matter-of-factness. The beam or bars are indifferent to the gymnast; they cannot be bribed or coerced. Yet the gymnast jumps, somersaults, lifts and flips. This is why Comaneci’s modesty was so valuable: it helped her to patiently, carefully accept the fundamental skills. ‘Without the basics,’ she writes in Letters to a Young Gymnast, ‘a gymnast gets into danger – rips muscles, breaks bones, cracks vertebrae.’ So the gymnast must put aside conceit and learn how to properly jump, spin, fall; must develop an attuned sense of her physical gifts and shortcomings, and how they relate to the equipment and space in front of her.

In other words, exercise often requires drive and excellent health, but also diffidence and intelligence: a willingness to dispassionately examine the situation and oneself, to assess calmly and act decisively. There is no room for misplaced pride when our fingers and spines are (literally) hanging in the balance. When we climb, leap or tumble, we develop a kind of practical humility: not frightened retreat from the world, but a more honest, careful congress with it.


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