Tuesday: Health and Fitness

Get A Grip

Because (I think) I am awesome, I took a trapeze class the other day. I like trying new things, learning skills, and putting my fitness to the test in real situations–you know, real situations like swinging from a bar 25 feet above the ground. I think putting a little fear into your everyday life can be a good thing; it breaks from the monotony of our far too-comfortable and easy lives, and it gets your adrenalin and brain working in ways that it normally doesn’t. Also, maybe, I’m a bit of a showoff. Either way, I went to trapeze class and it was everything I thought it would be: terrifying, exciting, challenging, and highly entertaining.

In the beginner’s class with me where five other women, slim, trendy 20-somethings who looked like they were there for a bachelorette party. Without being too judgmental, they looked like typical women of our generation; fashionable, a little self-impressed, probably not a Presidential hopeful among them. And when the going got tough– the going, in this case, being swinging wildly from a bar suspended high above a concrete floor–their true colors showed. While I sincerely give them credit for being there in the first place, and for holding onto the bar without a.) falling off, or b.) soiling themselves, every one of them displayed a complete lack of strength or body awareness. Where I, although far from perfect, got the general gist of the movement and coordination involved after my first try, these girls hung limply from the bar, legs either coiled or flailing, completely unable to follow the relatively basic instructions given by the teacher. What followed their sad attempts at trapeze glory was, of course, simpering giggles and comments that rose my blood pressure more than the death-defying trapeze: “This is sooo hard, because I, like, don’t have any strength.” 

Not cute, ladies. Look, not everyone needs to spend an hour a day in the gym, bench pressing their bodyweight and perfecting one-arm pull-ups (no big deal), but you should make an effort to acquire the functional fitness it takes to, basically, function. In our world, human beings can be extremely weak, unhealthy, and sedentary and still get through life relatively OK, but is that what you want? Relatively OK? Or do you want to be able to pull yourself out of the subway track if you, forbid, fall in? Do you want to have the strength to hold onto your friend if she falls off a dock into deep water and panics? Do you want to be able to help lift or move someone who passes out or falls ill at an inopportune time and place? Do you want to be proud that your body has the strength it needs to take care of itself and protect itself if a sticky situation arises, or do you want to giggle at your own lack of usefulness? 

I’m tired of women thinking it’s acceptable or cute to be helpless. You do not have to be weak, you choose to be. Woman up, please, and consider your body for what it is: a vehicle of movement, pleasure, and function.

Now, off to the circus!


Photo of The Trapeze School New York
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