Trends in American Lit.
January 29, 2003
The Way to Health
A week or so ago, a skinny, wrinkly man age 50 or so, came up to me in the gym as I was doing my daily exercises. He looked at me incredulously, and asked, “why is it that a boy like you is already exercising at such a young age.” My first impulse was to mutter “so that I do not end up looking like you,” however, I refrained from such a rude gesture. Instead I explained to him that I simply wanted to be able to retain my current state of youth later in life. However, as he walked away, I realized that not only was I lying, but that by being in this gym, I was actually being hypocritical to my personal doctrine of “why a man should work out.” What I should have told him, was “I work out simply to look good for the opposite sex. I don’t do it for health, I don’t do it for fitness, and I certainly don’t care if I can lift 220 lb. when I am 73. I simply do it for the girls.” And so I write this to you, the reader, in order to disprove any current theory of working out and building fitness. I am here to tell you that the true way to good health, is to actually do as little strenuous activity as possible. In fact, I can honestly tell you, that “working out” is actually the fastest way to dig your grave. The discovery channel brings up the perfect example of this concept when talking about the sedentary life-style of lions, who “throughout their lives, do not attempt any physical activity, except when they must achieve their essential animal instincts, such as fleeing, eating, and mating.” However, since in our society the concept of hunting for food, and physically competing for mates has been eliminated, physical strength becomes essentially useless. “It is not the strongest man who contributes to the gene pool, but the most adaptive” says Freud. And in our day and age, smartness - not strength - has become the best tool for survival. And so, one can even say that strength may even lead to early death, for as the discovery channel says “with every step that an animal makes, the muscles bring the body one step closer to its death.” Yet still, society today retains the idea that fitness is quote-on-quote good. And from where did such a concept arise? Why from the same gene that 30,000 years ago told primitive females that one man was more fit to survive than another. The entire concept of fitness is simply a matter of Darwinism and Genetics. Despite its uselessness, we still retain that very gene today – in both the male and female mind alike, the sight of slim-ness, trimness and muscular strength signifies fertility and genetic superiority. In fact, in today’s world it has nothing to do with health. Running may strengthen your heart, but only for now. “An apple a day and exercise every day may keep the doctor away” says famous biologist Stephen Jay Ghould. But I ask you now: will it really hold of the grim reaper?
And yet why do I tell you all this? Surely I, a mere child of 16; a boy who yet knows no real pains and aches of age, cannot go so blatantly