Monday, December 2, 2013

Random thoughts on Fitness World

I go to a gym.  I run around the neighborhood.  And I’m not the only one.  Fitness has become such a fad that even sneakers now have a designer look.  Fitness is now cool.  Every weekend offers multiple  competitive events.
I like to stay in shape.

I applaud and participate in the growing world of fitness, but I keep thinking about this culture in the context of problems in other parts of the world.  What would people in the third world think if they saw all our gyms and walking tracks?

Imagine explaining a walking track to a Ugandan or an Indian.  We don’t walk enough in our daily lives, so we create these places where people walk in circles, just so they can walk.  We need a special place that’s safe and convenient.  A few years ago I heard that Stokesdale has more walking tracks per capita than any other city in the country.  I like walking tracks.

Then I ride a Real Ryder stationary bike at my gym.  It’s lots of fun and a butt-kicking workout.  We fog up the windows, as we pant and sweat.  We pay money and make time to sweat, because we don’t exert ourselves enough in our actual work. 

One day as I pedaled through Tabata intervals, I wondered how this energy could be harvested.   We burn calories just for fitness.  But people exert this kind of energy in other places to plow fields, get to school, and haul water.  What if we could harness all the energy generated in the name of fitness?  We could start with electrical generators built into stationary bikes.  The electricity could be stored in batteries and used to power, say, electric lights in a homeless shelter.

Yeah, I know it won’t work.  I can list lots of reasons.

Maybe someone else can come up with a way to harvest our sweat for the gospel.  Then burning calories will make a difference in something more than our body mass indexes.