Monday, August 9, 2010

What Is Fitness?

     If you ask 10 people what it means to be fit, you will probably get ten different answers. What's particularly striking is this would still be true if you were talking to 10 health professionals, or 10 athletes, or 10 body builders,  or 10 philosophers, or 10 religious leaders. This lack of consensus reflects our times. While great advances have been made in medical science we have more obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and depression than ever before. For the first time in the history of the United States the average life expectancy of our children will probably fall below that of our own. As a culture, we have lost the traditions that created structure and meaning in our lives. Those traditions helped guide everything from a healthy diet to end of life decisions. We are the victims of our success in having created industries that "freed" us from long days of physical labor. What have we done with this "extra" time.

     I propose to explore the question of what fitness in the 21st century might look like in this blog. I'm not suggesting that the answers lie in the past. But there is no question that we've lost our way. Our remarkably evolved bodies are still capable of thriving if treated in a way that makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. This doesn't mean simplistic paleolithic prescriptions. Just the miraculous fact that information can be shared so easily with the internet holds amazing potential for a revolution in the way we live. We must start by questioning everything. For instance, why do we eat 3 meals a day? Why do we eat cereal for breakfast? Why so we eat fast-food? Why do we not sleep well? Why do we feel we don't have enough energy so much of the time? We must begin by looking at how the body works, what it has been adapted to do for thousands and thousands of years, what fuels it prefers, how it changes with age....

     These are just a few of the things I will explore on this blog. I will try to break it down and take small bites that define a situation and provide some practical tips. As a physician I have studied the human condition for almost 30 years and I continue to find it the most exciting topic out there. In order to think about fitness, we need to dabble in evolutionary biology, genetics, anthropology, nutrition, medicine, spirituality, kinesiology, psychology... It's endless. And that's the good news! What study could be more worthwhile. So, join me. Share your thoughts as we begin to explore fitness in the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paul...really happy to see this blog and looking forward to reading it as you post on health and fitness.

    Let's grab a coffee and discuss blogging.