I was at a friends house for a barbecue earlier this summer and we were discussing going to the gym. A couple of the guys there had gotten gym memberships at the same gym as me a few months prior, but had decided to cancel them.
Then they started talking about how it was a cesspool of testosterone filled high schoolers flexing in the mirror. Even if that is what they saw there, I get frustrated when that is people’s perception of what a gym looks like.
Their attitude made it seem like now that they were in their late twenties that they were almost too good, too mature to focus on a frivolous thing like fitness.
This is one issue that ignites my passion and love for fitness. And it makes me feel like I need to defend making physical fitness a priority.
Why Fitness Is a Valuable Pursuit
Exercise is a Low Cost Way to Improve Public Health Outcomes
The United States is rich financially, but unfortunately Americans are in a terrible place when it comes to their physical wellbeing. These statistics are a clear indicator of the lack of both health and fitness in the United States.
- Approximately 10.5% of U.S. adults have diabetes, according to a 2018 CDC report.
- From 2017-2020, the prevalence of obesity was 41.9% for people age 20 and older in the United States.
- Heart disease and stroke cost the nation an estimated $316.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2011.
What if exercise was prescribed like a drug, and health insurance providers would cover physical training sessions for people to get acquainted with gyms? To me, this seems like a better option than pumping more money into pharmaceutical interventions.
People are often given choices by their doctor: either you need to lose 25 pounds and improve your health -or- you’ll need to be treated for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes with prescription drugs.
To me, going for a walk every day and improving your nutrition is a more economical option and frankly provides more benefits than simply masking the issue with a drug.
Regular Physical Activity Helps Increase Health Spans
Lifespan is the total number of years we live whereas healthspan is how many of those years we remain healthy and free from disease.
Read More: What are the 5 Pillars of Health?
Increasing health spans does much more to adding quality time to someone’s life than simply adding years to the end of someone’s life.
Common Misconceptions about Fitness
Myth: The Only People Who Workout Are Dumb
There is a misconception that the only people who workout and make fitness a priority are meathead gym rats.
And I can’t believe I have to say that, but that’s just not true. I’ve talked to some straight up geniuses at the gym. And they weren’t smart about which protein powder to use, they were smart about artificial intelligence, machine learning, philosophy, and medicine.
You Can Be Simultaneously Smart and Jacked
Myth: Going to the Gym Means Doing Back and Bis, Chest and Tris, and Leg Day
Going to the gym doesn’t have to look the same for you as it does for the competitive bodybuilder working out across from you. In fact, you don’t even have to touch weights to get in better shape and improve your health (although you probably should).
Fortunately the more time you spend around gyms, the more comfortable you become and the more you’re empowered to make the equipment and the space work for you.
People all work out differently, whether it’s based on habits, abilities, knowledge, or goals. There is no one size fits all solution. In fact, there is probably a workout style that you can fall in love with–no matter what it is you’re looking for.