At this point we have a solid intellectual basis on why being physically active is a good thing (a statement that, in having to even be brought up, is itself an indictment of modern society), and can move to more specific stories, viewpoints, and generally more offbeat takes on the subject of fitness.
This week eschews, for the most part, the broad strokes of Improvement, and the survivalism of Lethal Ignorance. Instead, we’re going to be talking about weightlifting, Crossfit, how being active is good for people academically, and how schools are working to work against that, among other things.
1.) Crossfit/Baseline. It’s worth noting an excellent source for fitness-related news is the Crossfit Journal. While it IS a subscription service for the most part, the team over there puts up excellent content ranging from Crossfit itself, to the healthcare industry, to nutrition (and the political influences shaping it.)
Crossfit’s founder, Greg Glassman, has a particular focus on soda companies. There is an excellent documentary on this subject under the name “Sugar Coated” that beautifully covers how the industry has worked to either hide or distort the health issues sugar can lead to. You’d be surprised how politically charged sugar can be.
While you’re watching documentaries, if you have Netflix, watch “Icarus.” It’s about Russia’s state-sanctioned steroid scandal.
2.) Benefits. Back in Improvement, we discussed the physical benefits of being active. In Minnesota, the state’s Department of Health did a study that found physical activity can help students perform well academically as well.
The Mayo Clinic has also found that excercise can ease depression and anxiety. While the exact links aren’t clear, the believe is that regular exercise releases hormones called endorphins, and over time builds confidence in one’s own abilities.
It’s also a great way to relieve stress. As anybody who has ever done a deadlift can attest.
3.) Powerlifting. Speaking of which, let us move to my wheelhouse: powerlifting. Defined loosely as a competition involving three main lifts (Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift), powerlifting is at the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Crossfit. Whereas Crossfit has also taken on the name “functional fitness” and focuses on explosive movements, powerlifting is much more about raw strength and, to some extent, aggression.
We start, as all strength sports news segments do, at Barbend. There is an op-ed suggesting that powerlifting can sport for nerds, which may also explain my focus on it.
Joking aside, EliteFTS has an article out about how the sport is something just about everybody can participate in.
4.) Independence. Let us close by merging just about all of the Runs on this topic together. The survivalism found in Lethal Ignorance, and the more clinical aspects of Improvement and this Run. They all revolve around one concept: self-reliance. There’s a fantastic article from Reason Magazine’s J.D. Tuccille from December of 2017 on this. In the article, J.D. notes that Libertarians “are rightly quick to complain about intrusions into our autonomy—rules, regulations, and directives that compromise our ability to run our own lives. But nothing limits your independence like an inability to walk down the street under your own power.” Stated differently, you can be as much of a threat to your own independence as any government, if not more than any government. Governments can do a fair amount of damage to one’s own ability to move, think, and act freely, to be sure.
Indeed, a nation that is in decent physical shape individually (which we really aren’t) is more than capable of handling, for example, natural disasters, on a much larger level. More people in good physical condition means both a larger pool of people ready for military service (a problem that is already causing problems for our military), ready to volunteer to help with disasters, and generally able to handle themselves regardless of what is happening around them. It also leads to a larger pool of people who can help those who genuinely cannot help themselves.
There is simply no way, given those conditions, for the country to do anything other than improve over time.
Stay informed. Stay alert. Stay free.