2023 was a year of both expansion and contraction for KineSophy. Several new voices shared their views on topics related to the KineSophy mission. At the same time, events and trends across the globe and in my personal life reinforced the links between health, fitness, sports, society and philosophy. Before we turn the calendar to 2024, I summarize the year that was in the KineSophy 2023 Year in Review.
A Record Year for Interviews
Eight guests shared their unique perspectives on KineSophy in 2023, the most ever in a calendar year. Collectively, these interviews reflect my desire to incorporate additional voices into the discussions that take place on this website. In March, author and editor Daniel Kunitz kicked off a months-long examination of the history of exercise and fitness culture with a conversation about his book Lift. Though the history of exercise stretches back to at least the Ancient Greeks, it is only recently that we have begun to understand how important exercise is to physical health—more important than what, how or how much you eat, more important than any supplement, drug or popular health hack.
That discussion continued the following month. Journalist and author Danielle Friedman talked about her book Let’s Get Physical and explained how women’s exercise culture has developed from the 1950s and 60s to the present day. In June, Shelly McKenzie broadened the focus to look at the entire American fitness movement. Drawing on her book Getting Physical, Dr. McKenzie described President Kennedy’s push to improve the physical fitness of America’s children and the legacies of those policies today. The following month, historian and wellness educator Natalia Mehlman Petrzela brought our focus to the current state of American fitness. In that interview, we discussed her book Fit Nation and how to make physical fitness education benefit all Americans.
Fitness and Beyond
Two October interviews returned to the heart of the KineSophy project. In the first, former professional cyclist and philosophy PhD student James Hibbard explained his theories about the overlap of cycling and philosophy in the context of his book The Art of Cycling. In the second, author and strength trainer Laura Khoudari shared her book Lifting Heavy Things and described how strength training can aid recovery from physical and emotional trauma. The following month, author Antonia Malchik offered insights from her book A Walking Life. She explained how how many Americans lost the right to walk and how we can reclaim that freedom. Finally, ultramarathoner, mindfulness coach and author Nita Sweeney joined me earlier this month to share her book Depression Hates a Moving Target. In that interview, Sweeney detailed her experience of treating her depression by training for a marathon.
KineSophy in 2023 Current and Personal Events
Throughout 2023, the world continued to demonstrate the myriad connections between health, fitness, sports, society and philosophy. The year began on a personal note, when I wrote about my desire to teach my then-two-month-old daughter to swim. (We have since enrolled in swim class, and playing with her in the pool remains a highlight of my 2023.) The personal connection continued in August, when I started with my experience with writing while walking and delved into the current research on walking and creativity. And in September, I drew on the disappointing season of my favorite baseball team to explore issues of coded language and mental toughness in baseball.
At other points in the year, current events built on previous KineSophy discussions. In May, I showcased four news stories detailing 1) how sports can help rehabilitate criminal behavior, 2) the connection between physical health and academic performance, 3) the relationship between sugar consumption and career prospects, and 4) the effect of climate change on Major League Baseball. Also in September, I fact-checked presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s claim that students who perform well academically are less physically fit.
Coming in 2024
Expect more of the same in the new year! I look forward to additional opportunities to discuss how the theories presented in the early years of KineSophy play out in the real world. And I’m eager to bring even more fresh perspectives to the site to challenge and expand on the ideas developed thus far.
As always, I want to close by thanking everyone who read, shared and responded to KineSophy articles this year. I wish you all a healthy, happy and successful 2024.