COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Take a chill pill before exercising

Boot camps and other extreme workouts have become quite popular in Encinitas. Is this a good thing or a bad thing — or just a thing?
What does it say about the character of this once-sleepy beach community when people are seen running down Second Street, holding monster truck tires above their heads and willingly paying good money to be subjected to this and other tortuous heart-pounding exercises?
Many people have grown to resent the small spandex army of cyclists pedaling with every ounce of energy they can muster down the Coast Highway on weekends.
People complain the cyclists are too aggressive and subject to outbursts of verbally abusive anger.
In their defense, cyclists are at the whim of the cell-phone-talking-while-driving populous, but certainly, competitive cyclists do not fit the laidback, surf-town image that this community is commonly known for.
Driving itself has become somewhat of a competitive sport.
Flagrant lack of common etiquette at four-way stop signs is now quite common. How many times have you gotten snaked at an intersection?
As we have shifted from a surf-centric small beach town to a more prosperous and heterogeneous beach city, there are more people on the run to get to their next appointment.
Please be careful when coming to the flashing red light at an intersection when the Amtrak or Coaster comes through: You’ve clearly arrived at the stop sign first, only to have a Bluetooth ear-implanted driver race through the stop sign even though they are third or fourth in the queue.
Some people are clearly too wrapped up in their hurried minds to be peaceful, courteous drivers.
This is all indicative of how Encinitas has become more competitive. No longer is the community comprised mainly of artists and surfers scratching out a living just to get by and savor more joyful recreation time.
It seems many goal-oriented go-getters have also carved up a big piece of coastal paradise.
Perhaps this über-competitiveness is indicative of America in microcosm as well as a double-edged sword.
Thriving competition is, in part, what has made America the world’s most productive and strongest economy, even during this current recession. Healthy competition is what makes our lives so abundant and convenient.
At a certain point, however, the threshold of competitiveness passes a certain point, in which being too competitive can becomes hazardous to your health.
Extreme fitness might be the correct protocol for training elite athletes, but most people engaged in extreme workouts seem to be regular fitness enthusiasts, hopping on the elite training fitness bandwagon. Whatever happened to the merits of moderate exercise? Since when did extreme exercise become better for us?
When most people’s systems are overstressed as it is, engaging in extreme fitness only stresses the adrenal system even more, something most of us definitely don’t need.
The sunken eyes and supermodel-like low-body fat composition of competitive cyclists and long-distance runners in particular do not look very healthy.
Maybe these types of exercises are good for improving one’s cardiovascular capacity, but it’s only a matter of time when someone suffers a heart attack while engaged in one of these hyper fitness workouts. (Two people suffered heart attacks during the La Jolla Half Marathon.)
Only then, perhaps, will the sanity of this exercise paradigm be questioned.
Those participating in elite fitness regimens do so because they obviously enjoy it, right?
Maybe the pressure of being top dog in the world economy and the pressure of earning more money in order to sustain a more complicated and busier life has affected how we work out.
It’s not the sensation of almost puking that extreme fitness enthusiasts enjoy; it’s the meeting and beating and setting of higher goals that fuels them like a case of Power Bars.
Those that thoroughly enjoy extreme workouts and feel exponentially healthier and happier as a result should continue to partake, but certainly there are people who would do better on a nice mellow bike ride or walk through town or on the beach, savoring each bird-of-paradise, palm tree and ocean breeze, focusing more on spiritual rejuvenation than how many clean and jerks they can do in a minute.
The difficult economic climate of the last couple years should have taught us to slow down our hectic lives. This includes our exercise routines as well.

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