Indianapolis needs to develop a culture of fitness.
Fitness and health are inseparable. Our health profile before the pandemic was one of the poorest among major cities, and during the pandemic, our large population of vulnerable people has suffered greatly. A true fitness ethic would attract people considering Indianapolis and could move many residents from vulnerable to vigorous health.
Our facilities are primitive compared to those of major cities. They are challenging to use due to failure to invest in minimal essentials like reliable water and adequate restrooms. We have popular participation sports events but almost no continuous neighborhood fitness programs.
We need leadership from government and the private sector to:
ω Develop a themed, year-round series of non-elite events for people of all ages at little to no cost to participate.
ω Advocate fitness as a necessity, not avoidable because people “don’t have time” or it isn’t in the civic or company budget.
ω Upgrade our recreational facilities and trails to pleasantly meet—or exceed—basic needs.
ω Upgrade our existing non-motorized popular participation competitive events to attract world-class athletes.
Far smaller communities than Indianapolis have made fitness a part of their culture. One example is Boulder, Colorado, and there are many more. It isn’t mandatory to have mountains or an ocean to have a fitness culture. You just decide to do it.•