The Gross Fitness Index

A fit society has its priorities in order.

Last week, I went on a hike with my colleagues. We climbed Wallberg, in the south of Germany. At 1623 m it was a considerable incline. But we did it in good pace. It took us merely 3 hours. And the view from the top was well worth it.

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Sure, trekking enthusiasts can achieve this anywhere in the world. But not many countries have random samples of colleagues that are fit enough to do this. And here’s the baffling part – most other people at the peak were folks well past their retirement.

Germans are fond of fitness. 48% of the population exercises regularly.  Several of my colleagues ensure that they work out everyday.

Yet, fitness is one of the hardest things to prioritize. It is hard to wake up early and work out. Exercise is the epitome of delayed gratification. Most people indulge in regular exercise only when they have few other burning issues distracting them.

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” – Jerzy Gregorek

German society is organized to help Germans put fitness first. Several factors play their part here – clear separation between work and leisure, good infrastructure with gyms, parks, wide pavements, cycling lanes, and a thriving fitness culture where working out and eating healthy are the norm.

Therefore, a Gross Fitness Index might be a good measure of social development. Only when several factors are in place can the average septuagenarian in a country be fit enough to climb a Bavarian peak.

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