Opinion: Striking a balance


Can we get too much of a good thing? Is it possible to overdose on perfection? These, and questions like them, have vexed us since the very first good thing. Perhaps the challenge has been that both measures are subjective. What may be terrific to some might be considered unpleasant, even revolting, to others. And how much is enough, or more than enough, assuredly relies upon our individual capacity to process.

Take exercise as an example. All would agree that physical activity does the body good. In fact, a cogent argument could be made that we Americans have fallen behind on what might be a sustaining level of movement. But what might be required for some might be excess to others. Our age, general health and physiology each have significant impact on the need. A few indulge in almost compulsive workouts – we push our bodies to the breaking point and beyond. Athletic injuries and repetitive movement damage plague our bodies while offsetting any measurable benefit from the effort.

Likewise, food nourishes our bodies. Without it, we wouldn’t last long. And yet, we have a tough relationship with it. It seems we either eat too much or too little. For many, our bodies struggle to make use of the abundance of processed sugars and empty calories. For others, we restrict our intake to such extremes that vitamins or other supplements are required to keep our bodily functions operating.   

Exercise and food may be the ideal ying and yang of our corporal selves. If we properly manage the everchanging and moving equilibrium, our lives are extended and improved in countless ways. Failure quickly delivers the opposite. Can we hope to find balance between hedonism and Puritanism? And if we do, can we hope to keep it?