Is Physical Fitness An Indicator Of Success?

I’ve always thought that everyone should live how they want to live.  Who am I to judge them?  And further, who are they to judge me?

But just recently, as I was strrrretching myself back into working out on a regular basis, it occurred to me that I need a big, hairy, audacious goal to shoot for.  I began thinking about the studies I’ve read that say that in many cases, the lifestyle your close friends live is likely to be the one that you live.  I’ve been counting my blessings that I’m a social person, and thanks to Facebook, I’ve been drawing inspiration from people I never thought I would have:  Turns out that many of my old high school classmates are runner- or-triathlon-types, and I’ve been reading their struggles and triumphs through their Facebook updates.  And one day, it hit me:  They have achieved great things, but they’re not really much different than I am.  If they can do it, so can I!

There are many, many things to consider when going after your own personal fitness from nearly a dead stop (anyone have one of these?  I do…)…

But of all the benefits one could expect from working toward being at or near your peak fitness level, one of the greatest has been well-documented.  Increased alertness, more energy during the day, etc etc etc.  This link explains a few of the more commonsense ways that proper exercise and diet affect your workday. But what about the intangible effects?

It has been shown that the authority you wield as a fit person extends far past conversations about diets or workouts.  As a fit person, your opinion seems to carry a little more weight (ha!) than the flabby, unproductive guy’s opinion does, in some cases–simply by virtue of the fact that your lifestyle has taught you to divide large projects into bite-sized chunks, achieve a series of small goals while keeping your eye on the big picture, and above all (especially in business), produce results. These people have the ability to exert a subtle control over the group activities and discussions that they participate in–without either them or the group realizing it, most of the time, and it’s in the obviously different way that people tend to respond to extremely accomplished people.  This makes even your own coworkers respond to you as an instantly respectable person.  (Of course, we’ve all known people who were, “Perfect until he/she spoke,” so for now we’ll assume these people are all mutes.)

I know a few of these people, and am close friends with some of them–they’re into triathlons, marathons, martial arts, yoga–whatever it is, they have clearly defined muscles, and generally very clearly defined and concise parameters for how to achieve whatever success they strive toward.  These are people who you would look at and think, even if they lost their job, and all of their money, they’d still have their health and good looks.  (Come on, everyone has a little vanity to deal with…)

Does fitness indicate success?  Maybe not causally in a linear relationship, but it sure seems that once you’re fit, more opportunities come your way.  Here’s to taking on the Elephant, one bite at a time.

(No celebrity endorsement of Matthew McConaughey or kelly Ripa implied.)

    • The Kevman
    • June 21st, 2010

    In my opinion, physical fitness IS an indicator of success. You owe it to yourself and your body to keep in reasonable shape. Obviously, everyone puts on weight as they get older and, in the case of women, after they have kids, but neither is an excuse to let yourself go.

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