Fitness

A group of people standing on dark concrete with their arms extended upwards
Debora Cartagena//Pixnio

How comfortable do you feel in gyms, fitness studios and exercise classes? With COVID-19 in our midst, we all may feel a little iffy about spending time indoors with people breathing hard — but what about even before the pandemic? 

In and outside of gyms, we get inundated with messaging about what we should look like and how physically fit we should be. This fitness culture tells us that unless we exercise a certain way and achieve a certain ideal — of thinness, whiteness and heteronormative gender presentation — we’re doing it wrong.

Illustration by Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

If you have ever been on a diet, you know the pure vulnerability of getting weighed at the doctor’s office. Standing on an old metal scale with your shoes off, you might avert your eyes, as if that would prevent the nurse from saying the number out loud as they write it down. But what if weight did not play such an active role in how you understood your health?

The Black Man Running group jog in Wilmington.
Courtesy Black Man Running

Putting on running shoes and heading out for a jog is not a straightforward affair for black men. Runner Rendell Smith remembers a white woman who was so scared when she saw him jogging toward her, she dropped her groceries and bolted.

Image of Stanley, whose Instagram documenting her yoga progression has amassed more than 81,000 followers.
Jesssamyn Stanley

Images of women’s bodies are now more prolific than ever. From media advertisements to fitness blogs and Facebook feeds, photos of women’s bodies are everywhere.

There have been ongoing conversations in academia and popular culture about the impact that these images have on body image, but a growing chorus of women argue that there has long been something missing in this conversation: fat bodies can be healthy and beautiful, and fat shaming benefits no one.

A "Fat Femme" on Instagram

Born To Run And Natural Born Heroes

Apr 28, 2015
Author Christopher McDougall
chrismcdougall.com

The myth of the modern hero is someone with exceptional abilities and extraordinary strength.

But author Christopher McDougall says becoming a hero is just a matter of tapping into the body's capability for natural movement. 

  Rather than hitting the gym, McDougall told Frank Stasio of WUNC's The State of Things, people should be exercising outdoors through activities that echo the movements humans evolved to do as hunter-gatherers.