Do The Lives Of Health-Friendly Lovers Get Any Work?
The word Lifestylite comes from the words of the late Canadian author, Michael Levey. In his popular book, The Benefits of High-intensity Exercise (also known as Jog to Jitsu), he refers to it as a “bodyweight system for building muscle.” A similar book, translated into English as Fitness for Life, includes a chapter called “The Lifestylite: An Alternative to the Gym,” which describes how to use it. The book also includes a DVD that Levey describes as his take on a “lifetime fitness regime.”
Levey’s ideas are not unique. His book shares some elements with the work of the late American sociologist, Murray Rothman, who wrote the book, Managers of Leisure: A Social History of Modern Man. Both men sought to understand how contemporary life styles affect the development of leadership and social capital in organisations. In their joint book, they noted that leisure activities such as sport proved effective in promoting social class mobility. This led to the growth of what they labelled the mass culture industry, which they defined as “ghettoised labour” whose only opportunities were those provided by this mass culture industry.
One of Levey’s key arguments is that people have different needs depending on their location. In a town in the country, for instance, there would probably be few social opportunities for the poor while wealthy families would have multiple financial, physical, emotional, and social tangible factors gain from leisure activities. In an urban metropolis such as Tokyo, he argued, the poor would need to find ways to organise themselves in order to stay alive and thrive. But he went on to suggest that these poor people in an urban metropolis also needed to have some way of creating a sense of community, and not just survive. The author suggested that a good way of doing this was through recreational activities within a rural setting: for instance, fishing, hiking, riding, picnicking, boating, and other leisure time activities that were pleasurable and engaging.
Levey and Wormuth further pointed out that these leisure time activities were linked to the physical environment in ways that had not been seen before. For example, when participants in a sports competition engaged in strenuous activity such as running, cycling, swimming, or even jogging through the woods or along beaches, the mental and physical exertion drained the body and psyche. In such activity, “the physiological and the emotional aspects are closely linked” adding to the vitality of the exercise. This, they argued, made people “feel good”. The author even went as far as to say that the lifestyle could provide a counter-intuitive result. It can make us feel better even if our body and psyche are tired and wore out.
Although Levey and Wormuth did not go so far as to claim that the lifestyle is a cure for anything (neither do most fitness experts), they did suggest that it could be used to enrich and deepen our lives by making us realize who we really are. As they put it: “the pursuit of individual identity may well be the key to long-term sustainable health” as it allows people “to work with their identities as they simultaneously pursue health and happiness”. Indeed, incorporating healthy lifestyle practices such as LIFESTYLE into your lifestyle may not only help you to lose weight, but may also enhance your quality of life by boosting your sense of personal identity, and improve your capacity to socialize and interact well with others. Moreover, by making LIFESTYLE a part of your lifestyle, you may discover that the benefits extend to your family – who may begin to feel inspired to live a healthy lifestyle as well, and to take responsibility for their own health.
Of course, there is one aspect of LIFESTYLE that will appeal to just about everyone – the idea that a diet can be effective only if people take an active role in achieving it. However, Levey and Wormuth also remind us that “one size doesn’t fit all”, and that while it is possible to find quick solutions to many of life’s little problems, it is not necessary to choose between healthy lifestyles and living frugally. In fact, they argue, even the frugal, “active” lifestyle can be made more healthy and proactive through a healthy diet that is supported by daily exercise. The two wellness manuals also encourage readers to look outside their comfort zones and to go for “whole foods”. This is because whole foods “fit well” with our bodies and provide us with the nutrients we need in order to grow and stay strong.