Mann: The Morality in Men’s Fitness


Friday, March 1, 2019

A Biblical Proverb reads “Idle hands are the Devil’s Workshop,” implying that those who are not active have plenty of free time to do nefarious things. If something so grand as a workshop is analogized to mere hands, imagine the moral shortcomings an inactive body can produce. While overdramatic, yes, there is a pertinent philosophical question that arises here. Do guys have a moral obligation to be physically fit?

Traditional gender roles pit men as the protector of the household—the first to confront whatever may go bump in the night. Under that system of operation, men who are physically unable to counter said bumps are not adequately performing as the “protector,” not meeting the preliminary criterion for fatherhood. However, even beyond traditional gender norms, being a parent implies protection for the child and a father, normally the physically superior parent, should step into that role.

Along the same vein of long-established gender roles sits the ability to provide. Men have long been seen as the “breadwinner” of the family—a trend that is gradually dying yet is still true among 69% of couples. In this Information Age, you do not have to be Achilles to sit behind a computer screen, but as of 2016, 59% of all American jobs still required “medium-to-heavy work;” a majority of American workers experience income based on their physical aptitude. Taken with the former point, one could conclude that those who are in better physical condition for manual labor have an increased likelihood of adequately providing for their families.

Of course, the preceding paragraphs will solely be affirmations to those who already subscribe to the traditional gender dichotomy. The health effects alone, I believe, are enough to sway even the most modern, gender-sensitive guy. With a weekly lifting routine, “Medical Daily” lists significant improvements in Diabetes and Mental Health management, as well as decreasing the risk of heart disease by up to 70%. Furthermore, a regular weightlifting routine reduces the risk of bone-related ailments, such as osteoporosis, and improves the mental sharpness of men in older age. All of this is to say that being physically fit allows you to spend more time with your loved ones in the long run—a pursuit that is wholly righteous.

Alas, in this new, progressive generation we have stripped ourselves from the archetypal “man” and “woman;” such absolving has resulted in the fad known as the “dad bod”. The “dad bod” runs contrary to the shredded Atlas physique and draws support from scores of online admirers. Admittedly, I do not understand lumping the Adam Sandler physique anywhere near that of Chris Hemsworth’s in terms of sex appeal. In my quest for comprehension, I stumbled upon a tabloid-esque article titled “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod” that accurately diagnosed the fascination. “It doesn’t intimidate us,” the article reads. It continues:

“Few things are worse than taking a picture in a bathing suit, one being taking a picture in a bathing suit with a guy who is crazy fit. We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don’t need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.”

This sentiment suggests that the moral shortcoming lies in physical fitness—that you are emotionally damaging your partner by physically improving yourself.

If it is the case—that it is righteous to let your partner’s fitness outshine your own—then naturally the best moral outcome lies somewhere in the middle. Instead of being an Adam Sandler or a Chris Hemsworth, shoot for a Chris Pratt (post “Parks and Recreation”).

The hard truth remains that physical fitness is paramount to a long, healthy life. A man has a moral duty to his family to remain healthy to mitigate emotional and fiscal damage to said family should he fall ill or die. If possible, men should institute a regular workout routine to not only better themselves, but to help those they love as well.

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from West Virginia University and currently works as an Actuary. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Tanner Mann

West Virginia University

Tanner is a born-and-raised West Virginian. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from West Virginia University and currently works as an Actuary. His interests include politics, physical fitness, professional soccer, and corgis.

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