Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty Awareness

Once upon a writing time, I was telling a friend who's pretty high on the media chain about an idea I had for a book: a plan to help low-income and underpriviledged families incorporate fitness into their lives.

She said something that both shocked me and made me feel immediately stupid: Fitness is a middle-class issue.

Now, she didn't say health, and she didn't say obesity. She said "fitness." And she was right. Put finding (or maintaining) shelter and food at the top of the day-to-day priority list, and suddenly having sweet abs just doesn't make the cut.

This doesn't have as much to do with solving poverty as it has to do with awareness of it. Poverty is best known as starving people living in unhealthy conditions, but in this current economic state, it could mean a head-of-household losing a job, a single parent being threatened with eviction, a person already on the edge getting pushed over by something as simple as a bill from a child's doctor.

At the moment, I consider myself unfit in a aerobic, base-fitness, V02-type way. Today I'm realizing I'm unfit in other ways: I haven't reached out enough, helped out enough, or given up any of my luxurious time to help package, distribute or even find food for people who don't have enough. (Nothing will cure my "I'm 10 lbs overweight!" whine faster than handing food to people who don't have enough to eat.)

My next 90-day fitness test will have to include that kind of fitness as well: Fit for humanity.