Ground-Breakers and Inclusivity in Fitness

Erin Hundley

The fitness world is shifting and (thankfully) becoming more inclusive as each year passes! I struggle to imagine a world where women didn’t participate in sports, weren’t welcome in the weight room, and had few options for physical activity. I’m grateful that my mom started introducing me to running and physical activity at a very young age despite the fact that she never grew up with those options. Because of that, I’ve never questioned whether I belonged in a gym, a 5k, or in a strength competition. 

Jack Lallane is seen as the grandfather of the modern gym. He encouraged and inspired thousand to build their body and feel their best. One of my favorite memories, however, is seeing his wife Elaine Lalanne in 2011 at an Los Angeles IDEA Fitness Convention performing PERFECT pushups on stage at the age of 85. 

Women fought their way into the marathon scene with Katherine Switzer in 1967 when she entered the Boston marathon as a numbered participant and battled her way to the finish line despite officials trying to drag her off the course. Thanks to the support and help of her boyfriend Tom Miller, she was able to complete the race. Women still weren’t allowed to officially compete until 1972!

Present day ground-breakers I follow include Stephanie Cohen, Louise Green, and Aydian Dowling. Stephanie is a Physical Therapist and champion Powerlifter. Louise Green reminds us all that women come in all shapes and sizes and weight does not determine your fitness level. Aydian Dowling proves to us that trans men and women are capable of anything and have the same needs, desires, and insecurities as anyone else. And working out is a way to feel empowered. 

Who do you follow? Who challenges you to be stronger and gives you confidence to break new ground? Are YOU a ground-breaker paving the way for others? I’m sure you are in on way or another. Let me know who made a difference in your life and started you on the path to enjoying an active lifestyle

 

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