Imagine humans not feeling negative effects of not being physically active. No high blood pressure, no cardiovascular disease, no obesity or even being overweight. Would we still value sports and physical exercise the way we do today? Let’s rephrase the question; how important to us, as humans, are sports and physical activity? I think there are a couple of avenues we can travel down while answering this question. I am going to propose 2 different ways of thinking, both of which I agree with and answer this question.
The first rabbit hole we can go down is the fact that professional athletes exist. The majority of these athletes are playing their respective sport for a few different reasons, such as the money, or the fame and recognition. However, I’d venture to say, most professional athletes and even athletes in general, participate in the sport because they love to do it. They find their identity in the sport and couldn’t imagine their life any other way. “Individuals have their own resources for meaning, and deep games tend to fire the individual imagination… Such games become high-cost, high-demand, high-commitment affairs. But the rewards are commensurable. In such challenging activities we often say that we find ourselves (Kretchmar, 2005) Why do we see an increased number of people participating in organized sports, whether kids or adults? Because they love to play the game. If these athletes were not enjoying themselves and did not love the game they played, I guarantee they would not be playing it for long.
Michael Jordan comes to mind when I think about someone who loves the sport they are in and would do anything to play. In high school, Michael Jordan was deemed “too short” to play basketball, and did not make the Varsity team his sophomore year. This didn’t stop him. His love for the game was so strong, he trained rigorously, continued to play throughout high school, making Varsity his Junior and Senior year, and eventually dominating the sport in college and for many years in the NBA. His love of the game is what drove him to become one of the best, if not the best basketball player in history.
He was not participating in the sport for so long, giving it his blood, sweat, and tears, because he knew it made him physically fit. He loves the game. This is just one example of many athletes that live for the sport they’re involved in because they love it . Anyone that goes to the Olympics to represent their country also is not doing it because they know it keeps them healthy. The hours of training, dedication, and sacrifice is more than the fact that they know they won’t develop a disease linked to being sedentary.
There is also a love of the competition. “Sports give us a chance to test ourselves against others. What distinguishes simple recreation or physical activity from sports is “agon,” a Greek word meaning contest or struggle.” (Reed, 2013) Competition is in our human nature. We want to be better than everybody else. Organized sports give us a great opportunity to prove what we’re capable of, and athletes love showing off.
The other thought we can explore on whether humans would still be physically active or not if a cure was found for sedentary-related diseases is the fact that there are gym rats. Gym rats are similar to professional athletes in that it’s their identity and they wouldn’t imagine their life differently, but it’s not for a competition. I suppose if they were a professional body builder, they would be participating in competition, but I’m talking about the people that work out 5, 6, 7 days a week to look ripped. I would guess that most of these people that workout so frequently to be very muscular or very thin, don’t think about being healthy. I have friends that “workout just to look good”, with no consideration of how healthy they are or how good it is for their body. Even though they could look very healthy by working out so much, they might not be. “…those who did the most strenuous daily exercise were also more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people who engaged in more moderate activity.” (Firger, 2014). All in all, these athletes would still perform these activities if there was a cure for sedentary-related diseases.
In conclusion, we’ve looked at a couple of scenarios where I believe humans would absolutely still participate in their personal sport or physical activity, even though it’s good for them because of the physical activity. I suppose people might think that is an added bonus. I 100% believe that even though we would be healthy from the pill that cured such sedentary diseases, people need that sense of belonging that sports and physical activity provides, competition, and camaraderie.
Firger, Jessica, “Too Much Exercise may be Bad for the Heart.” CBSnews.com (2014) Web.
Kretchmar, R. Scott, “Practical Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity.” 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics (2005): 169. Print
Reed, Ken, “Why We Love Sports– Warts and All” HuffingtonPost.com (2013) Web.