The Surprising Reason Office Workers Love Endurance Sports

Cycling, running, and obstacle course racing are dominated by white-collar workers, and it’s about more than just their income.

“The satisfaction of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence has been known to make a man quiet and easy.”

This is a question sociologists are just beginning to unpack. One hypothesis is that endurance sports offer something that most modern-day knowledge economy jobs do not: the chance to pursue a clear and measurable goal with a direct line back to the work they have put in. In his book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, philosopher Matthew Crawford writes that “despite the proliferation of contrived metrics,” most knowledge economy jobs suffer from “a lack of objective standards.”

“Despite the proliferation of contrived metrics, most knowledge economy jobs suffer from a lack of objective standards.”

“I love the results — running faster, running longer, going after a clear-cut goal,” says Josh White, a biochemical engineer in Philadelphia who is also a competitive age-group triathlete.

“By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness.”

“Triathletes who I interviewed for my research talked about how the pain that they experienced during training and racing was one of the primary reasons they did it,” says Bridel. “To overcome this pain and get across the finish line served as a significant form of achievement and demonstrated an ability to discipline their bodies.

Want more on health and peak performance? Follow me on Twitter @Bstulberg where I share tips like these daily.

Note: This story was first published with Outside Magazine, where Brad writes the “Do It Better” column. Sign up for Outside’s Bodywork newsletter to get the latest on fitness, nutrition news, and training plans sent directly to you twice a week.

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Brad Stulberg

Bestselling author of The Practice of Groundedness (https://buff.ly/3vAnErK). Co-Creator of The Growth Equation. Coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and MDs.