Collective Fitness

There is a well-known African proverb which states, “It takes a village to raise a child”, but I believe this proverb can be extended to a community’s health and fitness too. The longer I lead exercise classes with the people in my community, the more I have come to  believe in village dynamics; because it truly takes a village to raise a community’s collective health and well-being.

I’ve thought much about the ‘active community’ within the small, rural town in which I work and live; of those whom I instruct in Zumba and personal training and balance and strength groups, they have become my family. They are indiviually and collectively my  tribe. They are my happy place; my cherished people. When our regular times to move together are disrupted, my happiness quotient is diminished until we re-engage. And it seems this sentiment is felt by most all those who identify themselves with any given  active tribe.

It occurs to me, that being a part of an active tribe is an especially essential component to the well-being of the ‘over the hill’ gang. Mature bodies require a great deal of extrinsic motivation to stay physically active and engaged. But the truth of the matter is people of every age and stage need, depend, and crave an active ‘village’ to stay on track with health and fitness goals. And when one participates within their active village, the collective energy and enthusiasm provides a collective power to keep its members happily moving together, physically and socially.

As a fitness instructor, I benefit from these group dynamics just as much as those who attend my exercise classes. I notice that we all depend on and look forward to our group movement with great expectations; our times together revitalize and energize all who participate…in body, mind, and spirit.

Ailing bodies don’t keep us sick. Our attitudes and perspectives do.  Karen Casey

I should not be surprised by this phenomenon, but I am, and I want to write about this so as to encourage my readers to never neglect the importance and value of their ‘village’ people. It makes no matter, the size of your tribe, when two or more gather for purposeful movement, lives are impacted and well-being is extended into the community. We all need an active tribe of which we may call our own. Happy, healthy lives are not created in solitary, isolated pursuit, but rather in ‘tribal’ collectives of like minded individuals.

If you belong to an active community of exercising people whom you consider your ‘tribe’ then you no doubt have reaped the benefits of your collective. If you want to raise the well-being of your village, seek out those community members who need a ‘tribe’ to join. Pass the baton of well-being on to those within your community; it’s no harder than inviting a neighbor or friend to take a walk-about your village. Every step together builds your village strong and healthy!

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