Is Strong the Future?

Originally posted to Pro-Activity’s work-injury prevention clients as part of their weekly communication.

Spoiler summary: are evolving science and cultural shifts paving the way for a “strength” revival?

Did you ever get the feeling you were witnessing something really important? You know, seeing something and saying to yourself “that’s going to be a big deal”? Sometimes it’s not in a particular moment or amazing thing but looking back on a pattern of things happening and realizing, like building blocks or puzzle pieces coming together, something cool is starting to form.


Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a little bit of this experience when it comes to the concept of “strength”, which of course is both a word and a principle that can be used in many ways. There is strength in the physical sense: the ability to apply force. There is strength in the emotional sense: the ability to carry the stress of the day and still get through it. There’s even strength in the statistics/research sense: an observation or finding that can be applied broadly or without reservation….. And I think it’s happening, all of it…and maybe more. I don’t know if I can do justice to the pattern, but it sure seems like it exists.


Years ago it seemed like being strong was reserved for special populations: mega athletes or bodybuilders for example; but recently there are more and more people that are proud (as evidenced by social media sharing, conversations etc.) about getting strong….which is awesome. I love seeing video clips on Facebook of people running a race or training or dead lifting for the first time. Although form is not always perfect and I find myself wishing I could jump in and give some pointers, the fact that someone is doing it and is genuinely proud of themselves is awesome. But that’s not all.


The recent media involvement in messages like “strong is the new pretty” (shoutout to my ol’ friend Kate Parker) and “like a girl” (where they show any number of biases & misconceptions in peoples perceptions of what it means to do something “like a girl”) makes it clear that the next generation is being brought up on a message that strong is cool, which for a guy with a couple of athletic daughters is fantastic (pictured above before their first rugby game). Even AARP is getting in on the act. I saw a great video clip related to “what does it mean to be old?” and the misconceptions and biases were wild. And of course, the research supports it: in a recent review of injury prevention initiatives in the workplace for example, the researchers concluded that for upper extremities, building proper movement and strength was perhaps the most beneficial thing people can do to lower risk.


There’s no doubt, we are still a long way off. As a population we have plenty of health battles to fight and way too many people still getting injured because their bodies are not up to the challenges they face, but it is super refreshing to see what sure seems to be a shift in popular beliefs; because when the belief system shifts and people WANT to move well and be strong, the “how” is really the easiest part.


So here’s a question to ponder: what does “strong” mean to you? What does strong mean to your kids? Or your other loved ones? Is it still only for mega-athletes and bodybuilders? Or is it the person who can crank out a 40 or 50 hour work week (maybe more?) and still have energy to safely juggle the other important areas of life?

I really hope the pattern continues and strong does become the future of cool….it’s a foundation we can build on. Here’s to being stronger and happier! And if you’re not there but want to be, let us know how we can help.


Have a great weekend,
Mike E.