Part of the curriculum of things I’m studying these days is exercise physiology. So how is physical fitness defined in my notes? It is
“the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies. It is the ability to withstand stress and persevere under difficult circumstances in which an unfit person would quit. Implied in this is more than a lack of illness; it is a positive quality that everyone has to some degree. Physical fitness is minimal in the severely ill and maximal in the highly trained athlete. Persons who maintain high levels of fitness may have increased longevity as compared to those who are sedentary. In addition, the quality of life is enhanced in those who are fit.
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th Edition
The above definition of physical fitness suggests the centrality it should have as an achievement and practice for those who wish to live life to the fullest, which should include all Afrikans. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, or social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary.” Again, this means optimal function as human beings, not merely the adequate or the tolerable. In health, we have no serious, scientific, honest, or honorable reason to strive for other than our most optimal condition, because due to the brevity of a human life, it only makes sense to do those things that both lengthen lifespan and improve life’s quality.
Vegans, in my opinion, should never stop in their quest for health at the composition of their diet only. Vegan should also come to mean athlete, or physically fit person who does not exploit animals. Check out how widespread sedentary life is: did you know that here in America there is now a pathology for it, called “Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS)“? Because the biggest killer in this country, coronary heart disease, is largely attributable to sitting on our ass too much, it is argued that SeDS is actually the number two cause of premature death here, after tobacco. Now dig these statistics:
- Only about 15% of adults in America engage in vigorous physical activity during leisure time, 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes
- More than 60% do not engage in physical activity regularly
- 25% lead sedentary lives
- Physical inactivity occurs more among women than men, Afrikans and Latin@s than whites, older than younger adults, and less-affluent than wealthier persons
- SeDS will cause 2.5 million Americans to die prematurely in the next decade.
- “Racial differences in food and exercise habits and cultural attitudes towards body weight help to explain the greater prevalence of obesity among black women (nearly 50%) than white women (33%).”
-Katch, Katch and McArdle: Exercise Physiology, Sixth Edition (2007)
In regards to SeDS, Afrikans suffer the most. As stated above, half of Afrikan women in the United Snakes are now obese. This means so many sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, and so on are at grave risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancers, and the like. Brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and so on, suffer from various cancers and diseases at exponential rates, also related to, among other things, sedentary life.
All this said, the benefits of exercise are numerous! I’m talking about serious exercise – and there is little excuse for humans to live in any other way but that they give themselves at least an hour or two a day to exercise vigorously, in manners touching upon all the main arenas of fitness – cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility. I won’t rattle the benefits off here as they are quite obvious, but should not only be enjoyed by the world’s elite athletes. All Afrikans, especially those that combine a highly active life with a seriously vegan one, should be able to enjoy increased muscle strength, bone density, cardiovascular endurance and heart strength, reduced heart rate during work and rest, improved stress tolerance and psychological well-being, low body fat content especially of non-essential, useless and dangerous fat, proven substantially increased longevity, and proven increased quality of life.
What’s stopping Afrikans from reaching and exceeding high, wise ages, such as now enjoyed by people in Japan or Sweden? Underdevelopment is indeed severely and brutally holding back access to health care in many of our communities around the world. But those of us without further excuses, especially those who are overeating for no good reason and not getting off their asses, including vegans, very much need to step up their game.
The rhetoric of the vegan word needs desperately to be infused with simultaneous pronouncements of the need to exercise well. The vegan and raw vegan athletes – and many of them are black! – are out there all over, so there is no lack of inspiration, nor any grounds for excuse. Again, I reiterate my appeal to discipline, the highest and hardest brand of it, which Afrikans will need to overcome oppression including self-destructive tendencies, of which, yes, sedentary living is very much one of them.
Sedentary living is a sad, indeed a cowardly resignation to fate, to the seemingly overwhelming circumstances, to oppression without taking initiative to change the picture. How can oppressed people afford to sit their ass down? They are the most in need to stand and run and get strong!
Imagine lots of strong, hardy, fit, lean, healthy, fierce, beautiful, athletic Afrikan vegans and raw vegans outliving and outfighting and outshining their enemies, including the enemies within – the typical African dictator, with his usual fat ass. Look at the average corrupt corpulent African head of state – he or she is a miserable ugly fatass! Do you all want to be like them, look like them, big overfed piles of feces not worth the food and expensive banquets lavished on them on the international neocolonial circuit? Do you want to be fat like the fascists, or fit like the fighters and the fire starters?
Revolutionaries have to be beyond physically fit. Fitness needs to be taken very seriously by Afrikans who say they are also vegan or raw vegan/ fruitarian. Fitness is a science and can and should be applied to any and all of us. We need to be doing something that makes us sweat at least thirty minutes a day. If not then at least thirty minutes every other day. We should try to push ourselves – when a given level of exertion no longer stresses us significantly, we must raise the level of the challenge – add more weight, add more miles, push further in the stretches, add more variety. Exercise is for getting stronger.
There shouldn’t be no flabby vegans, shouldn’t be no fruitarian dough-boys or girls. We should cease to separate in our minds vegan and physical fitness. Afrikan forces that practice veganity and athleticism can potentially be among the most revolutionary and sophisticated cats walking the Earth.
As for me, I know I want to do more work in the cardio department. My resting heart rate is only slightly below the average, and I’d like to bring it far below the average and get into marathon-running territory, for real. I’m putting this out there so I am forced to challenge myself. I’ve always relied on my own body for transportation – walking, biking. When I was in college I did much much more jogging than I now do, and was on the track team for a minute way back in high school. And I’ve been doing Kung Fu twice per week for over a year and a half now. I also do plenty of calisthenics. But all that hasn’t translated into an extremely high level of cardiovascular endurance – territory I’d like to march into in order to near the level of the great Afrikan dieties of marathon running. Why not? Cardiovascular health is perhaps the most important in the realm of increased longevity, oxygen utilization, disease prevention, and so on. The elite athlete should be joined by the masses in enjoying the pinnacle of heart health. I’m going for it. Why don’t y’all consider similar moves?
Exercise has to be targeted and specific. Want to work the cardiovascular system and strengthen the heart? Do extremely vigorous, sweaty, hard, rhythmic, sustained activities that involve a lot of running, cycling, rowing, or other such movements. Want to increase muscle strength? Do plenty of weight-bearing activities wherein you periodically, incrementally increase the amount of weight you lift and move. Want to get more limber and flexible? Go for the yoga or yoga-like exercises, and make sure that during each session, you push yourself further than you did last time. And make exercise comprehensive – so your sessions and sports make you stronger, more flexible, and increase endurance.
Physical fitness, including at the highest levels we should attain, is only a good thing. ONLY A GOOD THING. AND AN ESPECIALLY EXCELLENT THING FOR AFRIKAN VEGANS. We need to be as strong and healthy as possible in order to struggle long and successfully for our people.
I am increasingly convinced that the discourse of veganism is empty without the language of physical fitness.
Let athleticism, sport, and regular hardcore SWEATY exercise grace our black vegan lives, so we reap the benefits and roll through the world beautiful, strong, healthy, and ready to pull down the walls of oppression and disease with our bare hands!
Towards a veganism of physical fitness and sport!
Towards the Afrikan vegan fitness revolution!
It’s never too soon or too late to start making the right moves.