We are bombarded by health, nutrition and exercise in the media, what we should do and how to do it. Damon Young's approach to exercise begins with philosophical viewpoints. They emphasise the concept of 'Dualism', the split between mind and body. Plato's idea was the mind as 'his true self', whilst Nietzsche exclaimed 'Body I am entirely and nothing more'. Please do not be put off by these names. They are examples for the purpose of the book. Where does this relate to exercise? It goes on to describe the basic approaches to working out and the pitfalls, attractions, motives, and achievements. Action, desire, thought and will power are fundamental. I have always believed the hardest part of exercise is actually putting your training kit on. This action cannot be achieved without the later three motives.
Damon Young uses a philosophical background to explain the reasons why we try to improve our health, physical appearance and all of the feel-good factors and why we may quit. It is full of useful advice that may be sourced elsewhere, but this novel historical approach, however stimulating, may provide the added drive to understand what our personal goals are and why. Exercise, psychology and medicine are interrelated in that isolation of one problem is undoubtedly related to another, often unconsidered. The achievements of successful supreme sports athletes, their preparation, backup support, the look on their faces when they compete. This is mind and body, dualism becoming united. On a recreational, realistic approach, is it so difficult to pull on your training gear and set aside time? Maybe. The key points for me are how much do you want it, motivation and dedication and this book provides an interesting, useful and hopefully productive read and outcome. The conclusion, I interpret, is that mind and body have to be together. Dualism is for the philosophers. Realism is for the reader.