I imagine that fitness, exercise, strength, whatever you want to call it can solve a lot of the world’s current problems. It may be a simplistic approach, but it’s tangible and offers so REAL results.
Most of us know the health benefits of exercise. Live longer, feel better, improve mood, decrease anxiety and depression, lower risk of chronic disease, better sex, on and on. Ok, that last one won’t appear on WebMD but regular exercise has been shown physiologically to improve circulation (blood flow to the… extremities) super important for both parties, and you get a psychological boost with improvements in self-confidence and self-image.
On top of all of that, COVID-19. The greatest precursors to a catastrophic end is preexisting conditions like a chronic disease. Metabolic diseases or chronic diseases are things like heart conditions, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. How do you get a metabolic disease? You ask. A lack of regular exercise and poor nutritional practices like eating too much fast food and drinking soda. In other words, choice. That’s right, people die every day because of a lifetime of choices.
So if living longer, being disease-free, and having better “sexy time” isn’t enough to engage in fitness, what is? How about equality, racism, and hate? Fair warning, this is a SUPER simplistic view and I fully understand that. But hear me out.
I love strength and fitness because it is impartial. I’d argue it is one of the last platforms where a human being can show up as they are, be accepted, and excel based on their willingness to do the work. Fitness does not care if you are black, white, yellow, or pink. It does not care of your sexual preference or identity. Strength does not care what religion or political party you associate with. Fitness does not care how much money you make or where you are from. Strength is disinterested in age, sex, creed, or color. Strength and fitness is one of the last great arenas of equality.
I heard something years ago that stuck. It was, no matter who you are when you step up to a barbell 200 pounds is 200 pounds. The barbell doesn’t care where you came from, what you have, or how you identify. Nothing will lift that bar except strength. The strength that you have earned.
I imagine that culturally we are suffering from a lack of empathy. Not sympathy, but empathy. Empathy is described as, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Want to know a place where you can forge understand? A barbell and a workout.
In our gym, people start off as stranges. On day 1 you might not know anyone here, but really quickly you know what kind of people they are. You can see that they value hard work and the pursuit of their best selves. Then people bond through shared experience, perseverance, shared suffering, and PR’s. They support each other regardless of anything else. If you’re willing to put in the effort, you are rewarded with smiles, fist bumps, and support.
I’ve seen a 16-year-old boy cheer for and fist-bump a 70-year-old woman. Those 2 have nothing in common… Except for fitness. And you’ll be hard-pressed to recreate that level of understanding anywhere else. He understands her and she understands him and in that moment there is pure unfiltered support and love, if only in the context of this thing. But isn’t that enough? What kind of effect can that have on both of their lives downstream? That empathy, that understanding? Now imagine that you are exposed to that day after day. Can it create a better world? I think so.
I understand that this is a simplistic view of a very complex and nuanced problem, but I imagine that a simple solution is a great place to start. If you want to solve “people issues”, you need to get people to understand one another. I believe that strength can open that door because all things are equal in fitness.