When I came across this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/fashion/27SKIN.html?_r=1&ref=health), I thought it would be appropriate to share since I think it relates to how we view community.
In class, we discussed how we define community and how people find community in different ways. This article is a good example of one way that people have found community. Not only are gyms a place where members can go to improve their health, it provides a social atmosphere where they can meet others and develop community. I think a gym provides many of the qualities that we all acknowledged as important aspects of a community. It centers around a common interest (working out/getting healthy), it may attract people from a certain geographic location, and it provides a sense of belonging. I also think that a gym is a place where many people feel vulnerable, whether that vulnerability is due to weight loss goals, athletic ability, or other reasons. Because we let down our barriers, it allows room to grow.
Though a gym may offer a great opportunity for community to develop, its potential seems to be dwindling as fewer and fewer people want to join an all inclusive gym in favor of a less expensive option where they can get in and get out. I think this is a good example of when an individual’s values clash with those of a community, and how it can affect their health. In today’s world, people tend to gravitate less towards community and more towards individuality. People want to have an inexpensive option that takes less time so that they can get on with their lives. But is it worth it? People who typically exercise in a group setting or with a trainer are more likely to stay at the gym. By attempting to save a little time and money, we are potentially sacrificing a community atmosphere and a chance to improve health. Reading this example of how one type of community setting is shrinking, I wonder how many other community atmospheres are disappearing and how it will affect the way people define community.
Here are some more questions to consider:
What is the balance between individual and community values? How does the setting/location influence community? What is the importance of community to physical/mental health?