Fitness, For Parents

What Can a Zombie Apocalypse Teach Us about Exercise?


Like many grown men, I am addicted to all things zombie.  There’s something liberated about the premise of societal collapse that allows the story to wander (accidentally?) through all sorts of “real” life lessons.  One recurring theme, which was reiterated by Abraham on this Sunday’s Walking Dead episode, is the power of the group versus the individual.

In this episode, Abraham reminds Glenn that the secret to survival amid a plague of zombies is sticking together.  Glenn, unfazed by probability and reason, leaves his erstwhile group to find his separated lover.  One by one, each member of the group realizes that their collective odds improve if they remain united;  with Glenn following his own initiative, they all follow Glenn.

A zombie apocalypse is like life, with the zombies played by work, kids, aging, chronic disease, and other life-changing events.  And just like in a zombie apocalypse, the key to survival in life is forming and maintaining the right groups.  Groups make life social and interesting, provide a source of support and learning, force us to be accountable, and give us an intrinsic sense of purpose.  As a result, we’re more likely to stay committed to overcoming life’s challenges if we do it in a group.

This thought was reinforced last night during my weekly “beer league” soccer game.  I used to play soccer at a fairly competitive level through university.  When I entered the working world, I managed to keep up a reasonable exercise routine.  Over the years, as work and a new family life have conspired to dominate my schedule, I have slowly found myself prioritizing Netflix over net-minding in my increasingly spare spare time.  However, the one thing that kept me committed to regular exercise was team sports.

The benefits of group exercise are well-documented.  The trick is finding the right group of people and the right activity that inspire you to stay committed.  It could be an old passion, like soccer for me;  or it could be something new, like a spinning class or dance lessons.  Whatever your interest, find a few friends, sign-up and register, and always, always, avoid getting bitten by zombies.

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