The Wellness Industry Needs To Change—And Driving a Car Is the Perfect Metaphor for Understanding How
In health, fitness, nutrition, and, well, life, it’s time for the winds of change to turn into a gale force. Wellness is far less accessible than it should be for people who don’t have access to resources like money and time, and those who have been shut out of ways to live healthy lives through limited access to outdoor space or fresh foods, for instance.
“Systemic racism and other inequalities do not leave us with a level playing field,” says author, activist, and TV host Alison Mariella Désir “So if you're living in poverty, no matter how much you hope to exercise or take care of yourself, there are structures that make it difficult, if not impossible for you to access wellness. I think it's important for the wellness industry to recognize those systemic inequalities and start to address them to make access to fitness and movement more available and more realistic for people. If we're not addressing the systemic issues, then we absolutely cannot address people's health.”
That’s absolutely a tall order, but nevertheless, people like Désir and other wellness innovators are taking it on. Through her many projects, like writing the book Running While Black and founding Harlem Run, Désir works to expose the racism in fitness and health, and build a more level playing field.
But how can we truly make wellness services equitable without missing the industry’s blind spots that have historically left so many people out? One strategy: Think about driving a car.
“The Well+Good audience can make such a big improvement in their own lives and innovate in their own communities by simply looking backwards at what doesn't work before they look forward at what they want to change,” says Brian Levine, the CEO & Founder of surrogacy connection and transparency service Nodal. “No one needs to drive a car by looking in just the rearview mirror, but no one drives a car by only looking through the windshield either. You kind of need to take a look around at what's behind you and what's in front of you to make the best plan.”
Levine and Désir are not driving the car alone. In this episode of the Well+Good podcast, we sit down with some of our Well+Good 2023 Changemakers, the people who are making meaningful change in the wellness realm. That includes Désir and Levine, as well as Tiffany Yu, the CEO and founder of Diversability, Jing Gao, the CEO and founder of FlybyJing, and Holly Thaggard the CEO and founder of Supergoop. Take a listen to hear how, as Thaggard says, they’re “reaching for the sun, the moon, [and] the stars” when it comes to wellness, and why Thaggard thinks those celestial bodies are “right at our fingertips.”
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