As I rounded 50 on my series of 75 reps of Hindu squats this morning, I contemplated not only that my knees were sore but what it takes to be fit in American culture today. The truth is, you have to be a little odd. They don’t call it a fitness “craze” for nothing. We are no longer gathering and hunting, we are no longer walking everywhere we go, we are no longer (most of us) baling hay and milking cows on the family farm. We spend long periods of time just like I am now: sitting in front of some kind of screen. So in order to be physically fit in America today, you have to be a little obsessed. You have to be that person in the office who runs at lunch when everyone else is at the buffet. You have to pack your snacks instead of hitting the vending machine. And you have to get up in the morning when it’s dark and put on your running shoes. And this is all just to be reasonably fit. We’re not talking as fit as G. I. Jane up there (love that movie, would never happen in real life, but love that movie).
Here is what I like about being fit: I rarely get sick; I can lift boxes of Christmas decorations without injuring myself; I can run down the street to chat with my neighbor without getting winded; I can ski, skate, run, bike and swim with my kids. I can fit in an airplane seat. Here is what I don’t like about being fit: well, see, there’s not a whole lot in this column, but I do get irritated that I have to be a little obsessed. Oh, and I miss sleeping in sometimes.
When I was researching for this post, I came across some videos on triathlons. The entering argument for these events is that we are turning to these extreme endurance sports to create the PHYSICAL challenge lacking in our lives. Not satisfied with Ironman Triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run), endurance athletes like Lance Armstrong are turning to the XTERRA, which is all those things done cross country.
You can live Ironman vicariously on NBC Sports this Saturday when they broadcast the Ironman World Championships.
For the record, I have never done an Ironman, XTERRA or otherwise. But that doesn’t mean I never will…
What about you? Have any of you ever done anything extreme to stay fit? Any big fitness goals for 2012?