The Peloton Bike Commercial & A Fitness Focus

Over the Christmas holidays social media buzzed with criticism over a Peloton Bike commercial. The commercial portrays the excitement of a woman who receives a Peloton Bike as a Christmas present from her husband. Criticisms ranged from sexism to stereotypical patriarchy. To some observers, the husband’s gift implied that his wife needed to lose weight. Yet the actress portraying the wife was thin and the epitome of fitness. Additional critics acknowledged the trim physique of the wife yet lamented that she was not in need of the bike because she was clearly already in great shape. Without addressing the marketing merits of the advertisers, let us consider five key points that arise from this controversy relative to pastors and their fitness:

  1. Physical health and fitness are not limited to body fat and the toning of muscles. Certainly, these components are important and typically the most visible and emphasized, but we must not ignore the need for the health of our less visible body parts. For example, health disciplines are required for the skeletal system, internal organs, eyesight, brain, skin, etc.
  2. Even when the optimum fitness level is achieved physical activity is still essential. It may be true that the Peloton wife exhibits a fit body, but it is a moot point to suggest that she no longer needs the exercise benefits of the bike. Regardless of one’s physical condition every pastor needs exercise/physical activity to live a healthy lifestyle.
  3. In an age of “ease,” physical activity is increasingly needed for healthy living. We can lock doors, monitor heat, turn lights on and off, change television channels, answer the phone, surveille the knock at our door and countless other daily routines without ever rising from the comforts of a La-Z-Boy recliner. Tasks once requiring at least a minimum amount of movement are now conveniently activity free. This is especially important for pastors to be aware of since the pastoral vocation itself leans toward a more sedentary lifestyle.
  4. Choose physical activity. Since pastors do a lot of driving to meetings, appointments and hospitals, why not choose a parking space requiring a longer walk? Why not choose the stairs over an elevator or escalator? Why not choose to walk or bike, when possible, rather than driving a car? Why not have that meeting with a parishioner outside while taking a walk instead of sitting in the coffee shop. Instead of seeking measures to eliminate physical activity let us incorporate creative ways to increase physical activity into our daily routines.
  5. At least the Peloton commercial embraces the need for exercise. Perhaps the bike will be a great resource to serve its riders, but it seems to be a pricey purchase when the same physical benefits can be achieved through less costly measures. Perhaps consider getting a road bike or hybrid bike as an alternative.

To learn more about helping people in need, see the following resources:

Physical contributor: Dave Lewis, associate professor/head women’s soccer coach, Huntington University.
Executive editor: Russ Gunsalus
Curator of content: Dave Higle