National Exercise Initiative

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Millions of people in the U.S. do not get enough exercise. This precarious situation causes many grave problems such as escalating health care costs and reduced lifetime. Thus, it is the purpose of this short but informative essay to propose a new and progressive method to eradicate laziness and promote a healthy and productive lifestyle: mandatory exercise.

Well, why not? No one can seriously deny that working out is good for you. Cardiovascular exercise, as well as a balanced diet, is a very important part of keeping healthy. The more we have of it, the better.

Surely the opponents of this proposal would say that it is a “violation of rights” to make people exercise. Yet I find that logic faulty and also very dangerous. For if something is done for your own good, then how can it really violate rights? A healthy society is a functional society. The whims of a recalcitrant few should not override the wishes of the majority. In fact, if this majority wants to be in shape, then so be it.

My proposal would call for all men and women (and children over the age of 10) to be entered into a federal gym database where their progress towards health could be monitored and accounted for. The system would be devised by the best scientists and physical education specialists of the country and would probably include a required number of completed credits per month as well as demerits issued for anyone falling behind their required workout quota.

Now, let’s be realistic. There’s no way that this is going to work because there will be some who simply refuse to exercise. Our world has always had societal parasites; this is no exception. Not all is lost, however. My National Exercise Initiative (called also “NACI” for short) would account for the lazy, the sick and the very old. Under my plan, the IRS would be entitled to access the NACI database and remove tax breaks and credits. The additional funding will go into building new exercise facilities. It takes a village to mold our young ones into tomorrow’s workers, and no child should be left behind. Those who are unwilling or unable to participate should bear the costs and pay their fair share. May their dereliction of duty serve the more important greater good.

I urge our legislators to pay attention to this humble servant and enact the policy hereby suggested as soon as possible. The survival of our society, indeed the survival of our species, depends upon this. Do it for the children … for our future. Do not let us down!

Of course I don’t really advocate any of the above, but some politician out there has already thought about it or will think about it. Reject the “For Your Own Good Mentality” for only the individual can really know what’s best for him.

Manuel Lora [send him mail] works at Cornell University as a TV and multimedia producer. Visit his blog.

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