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Is The Fitness Movement Dying?

Original Posting: 12/18/2000

Q: It seems that there used to be so much more hype about running and exercise. Now we now it’s good for us, but there isn’t such a big fuss about it. What do you think is happening with the fitness movement –- is it dying, or alive and kicking?

A: The fitness movement is getting bigger, not smaller. In the early days, especially when running became popular, runners were noticed because it was new. Marathons and other runs attracted media attention and got a great deal of coverage. Nowadays marathons and even triathlons aren’t considered as newsworthy as they once were so you don’t hear about them. Reporters are writing about the sensational -- not the ordinary.

The momentum of the fitness movement is so big and so strong that educated people are embarrassed if they are not a part of it. People don’t make fun of you anymore if you run at night or in weird places or wear strange costumes. In the old days a woman running down the street by herself felt very conspicuous -- but not so anymore.

The fitness movement has, in fact, spawned many new industries. In the early days a woman runner might be reluctant to say she needed a special bra, but now jog bras are a major enterprise. Think about all those commercials for thirst quenching sports drinks, shoes, and every imaginable fitness machine -- the very idea that the fitness movement is dying is laughable!

Let’s compare the fitness movement to driving a car with a five-speed gearshift. When you put it in first gear, it makes a lot of noise. Even in second gear there is a lot of noise, but in third gear it’s harder to hear the engine. When you finally shift into fifth gear, as the fitness movement is now doing, you can’t hear the engine at all. You’re going down the freeway at 60 mph and you can’t even hear it. That’s where the fitness movement is. It’s doing so well, moving so fast with so many people involved, that we’ re not making such a fuss about it anymore.

There is a moral to all of this. If you are making a fuss about it then perhaps the fitness movement has left you behind.

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