"The work of an intellectual is not to mold the political will of others; it is, through the analyses that [s]he does in his[her] own field, to re-examine evidence and assumptions, to shake up habitual ways of working and thinking, to dissipate conventional familiarities, to re-evaluate rules and institutions and to participate in the formation of a political will (where [s]he has his[her] role as citizen to play).” ~ Michel Foucault
For the past 10 years, I have been engaged in answering following question "How do we empower, encourage, and educate people and communities to embrace and become responsible for active and healthy lifestyles in everyday life?" This was the founding question for my PhD and a personal pursuit as a runner, coach, and volunteer actively involved in the running community. This post has been sitting in my draft archive for far too long. It is an issue that is difficult to discuss: it is both personal and social, and comes with many opinions, values, thoughts, experiences, complaints...it is our body and how we feel and talk about it. It frustrates me to read status updates on Facebook and posts on Twitter that sound something like this "I feel pudgy today, I guess I should go for a run" or "going to boot camp to fit into my new dress". If you have written such comments, this is not directed at you personally, but the underlying script or message that physical activity has become a popularized way to achieving the perfect body, which is an unhealthy view in my opinion. In other words, running has become something we should do, as a means to an end, to achieve a superficial goal, a perfect body or ideal dress size. A recent news story about how strong is becoming the new skinny has un-archived this post (or rant, depending on how you interpret it) because I believe we have a role in our communities, including social media, to challenge the negative and problematic views of physical activity, and it is our responsibility to encourage and educate others about healthy and active lifestyles.