Tanning Beds, Bodybuilding and Poison

The World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer published a report in the latest issue of medical journal The Lancet Oncology that places tanning beds as likely carcinogens on the same level as arsenic or tobacco smoke.

My fitness ethos is always to work from the inside-out.  It is a potentially dangerous disordering of priorities to treat your body like an object to be manipulated into a certain “look”.  This divides the body/mind/soul and can generate a cycle of imbalances through the whole organism. The focus on “isolation” exercises in bodybuilding, geared to bulking up particular “beach muscles” tears the body into little pieces (both psychologically and in terms of motor skills) and objectifies it as a piece of meat foreign to the inner Self.

Fitness training should work to integrate the organism, not divide it.  In my opinion, fitness goals should be directed at affecting the outside world,  at accomplishing difficult tasks, not at beating the body into a certain “shape”.

A tan came to be seen as a sign of health because it was a side-effect of spending time working, moving, and playing outdoors.  Bulging biceps became a symbol of strength, I hypothesize, because they are one of the more useless muscles. In the old days, if your biceps bulged, that meant that your really useful muscles in your back, shoulders, legs and torso must be REALLY strong!

When you shoot for the resulting appearance instead of letting it be a byproduct of real-world work and accomplishment, you cheat yourself and hide your feelings of fear and inadequacy behind a puffed-up shield.

I think that bodybuilding can grow into a kind of body dismorphic syndrome comparable to anorexia.  It can be fine in moderation, but keep a perspective on it.  Realize that nobody really cares all that much what you look like.  It’s what you do in the world that draws people to you.


~ by nolashaolin on July 29, 2009.

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