On September 11th during the evacuation of the twin towers, many people had to descend hundreds of flights of stairs in order to get out of the building. One of the biggest problems however was that a lot of the people simply weren’t physically conditioned for such a substantial effort and had to move at a slower pace. At the same time, firefighters and emergency personnel, in full gear would ascend those same stairs to expedite the evacuation.
These men and women are heroes and in that one crucial moment, their training and physical conditioning is what helped save lives.
Now we’ve all heard the usual reasons why we should go to the exercise (hypertension, diabetes, risk of heart attack etc.) but it’s like telling a smoker to quit because it causes cancer. During those crucial moments people’s physical fitness made a difference. It wasn’t about how you looked or your aesthetics, it was about how fit you were to do what you needed to.
There is no shortage of reasons why people in general need to exercise more, but for you as an individual it has to be personal.
It is hard to come up with the right goals that’ll keep you motivated enough to exercise everyday. Too often the goals are very broad and vague, not really akin to your own personal interests or what it is that you want to accomplish. Many people don’t even know what it is they want to accomplish or do, but they know they need to “workout”. If you tell yourself “I need to go to the gym” or “I need to workout” you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Looking at exercise or going to the gym as a chore isn’t pleasant for anyone. There’s that difference between want and need. If you “want” to exercise or go to the gym, you’re already more motivated then the majority of people and you are more likely to succeed at your goals.
I have been known to train for several hours a day and find myself more than anything having to defend myself against people for my fitness habits. I call it “Fit-Shaming” and what I often hear things like “How could you workout so much in a day” "You're already skinny, you don't need to workout" or “Good for you but there’s no way I would ever exercise that much.” Or even “What is wrong with you? Can’t you just act like a normal person?” People reacting to my fitness in a more condescending manner, “You always workout, you can skip a day” or “You can eat that (cake, cookie, chips etc.) You’ll just burn it off
"You're already skinny, you don't need to workout"
Physical fitness has long been shown to have more than just physical benefits; with the social and psychological benefits alone fitness is important. Even more so simply just having the capability to lift a heavy piece of furniture, or be able to break a fall without injuring yourself. Perhaps even climbing up a fight of stairs without feeling tired and out of breath. The fitter you are the more capable you will be to function in your daily life, with more energy, stamina and endurance, even a more positive and optimistic attitude.
Remember, just because a person exercises consistently and perhaps even has a nicer body doesn’t mean they are trying to be better than anybody else. Every day people at the gym, the pool, in the park or elsewhere are working to better themselves and their quality of life. In the end we all just want to be the best person we can be, for each other, our families, our careers and most importantly ourselves. Judging someone just because they can run faster, jump higher or reach further than you doesn’t say anything about them. It says something about you. We are human and every day we consciously and unconsciously judge others regardless but we also find motivation and inspiration in our everyday life.
If you are still asking yourself what’s at the top of the rope, well that is your goal. Gravity is all those other influences in your life (people, temptations, schedules, money etc.) trying to keep you from reaching the top. The climb is never easy and it’s a lot of hard work. There was a lot of tragedy on that fateful day, but there were more heroes. Everyday people who had the ability to help others, in whatever way, acted without hesitation and it made all the difference in the world.