When Did Naturism Stop Being About Health?

Today, Wife and I are going to our local club for the skinny-dip thing and enjoy the festivities.  I’m really excited to go.  One thing bothers me.  They are having a luau which I am fairly sure I won’t be able to partake in.

When did naturism stop being about health?

Back when naturism started, it was all about health.  People did calisthenics, ate vegetarian, and learned about healthy ways to live.  Things were a bit regimented and I’m not suggesting we go back there.  However, we now seem to be almost the exact opposite.

I heard yesterday on the Naturist Living Show that the stereotype is the fat guy sitting by the pool drinking beer.  How true!  I once heard a woman in the pool at our club say something to the effect that she didn’t exercise and she wouldn’t walk if she didn’t have to.  She looked it.

I’m all about body acceptance, but come on, lets not let it be an excuse to be flabby and out of shape.

Sure there are all sorts of reasons that we don’t all look like Olympic athletes.  That doesn’t mean we can’t try!

I recently read a report on a YNA event.  I was so jealous.  I know they don’t want my sixty-three year old body at these things, but it sounded wonderful!  Vegetarian food, Yoga, and meditation.  That’s right up my alley!  I haven’t been to that many clubs, but I have yet to see any vegetarian or vegan fare on the menu.  I’ve only seen one Yoga class.

I’m sure there is a happy medium.

I don’t want to go back to the days where I am awakened at 5:30am to do jumping jacks.  I do want to bring the idea of nudism being a healthy way of life back though.  Maybe we would have more young people if naturism was seem as something good for mind and body instead of simply a hedonistic activity for old fat people.

Before you jump all over me in the comments, I understand that body acceptance is a huge thing for nudists.  It is one of the things I love about it.  Each person learns to accept who they are.  I am only suggesting that as nudists, we have an opportunity to live not only naked, but as healthy we are able as well.


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23 Responses to When Did Naturism Stop Being About Health?

  1. Wayne says:

    Well said, I strongly believe we need to take body acceptance seriously, but not at the cost of health

    • Steve says:

      I don’t mean to come off holier than thou. It’s just that sometimes it seems that the whole body acceptance thing is taken to extremes. Our society, as a whole, is out of shape and over-weight. Why can’t nudism be a means to bring some healthy ideas back?

  2. Ed Raby Sr says:

    I am not a vegan, I am more of a cave man diet kind of guy but the principle is the same. Part of my understanding of body acceptance is to accept what I am today but work for something better in the future. Part of that process is honestly assessing what I look like in the mirror and being motivated to change it in positive ways. Good thoughts.

    • Steve says:

      And I’m certainly not saying everyone should be vegetarian or vegan, or anything. It’s just that we should, as you said, work for something better. I probably wouldn’t be vegan if I hadn’t had a heart attack. I did though and it made me realize I wasn’t eating or exercising the way I should. I was at one nudist event where fried dough was the big culinary item of the day. Fried dough; really?

      • Colin H says:

        I agree with what a lot of you are saying on here. It is one thing to accept that we are all different shapes and not to judge others for their appearance. It is quite another to use an culture which encourages body acceptance as an excuse to over indulge, be lazy and destroy your body. I’m not vegan, I’m not very fit or extremely healthy in my lifestyle, but since becoming a nudist I have become more aware of my body and have tried to eat healthier and get fitter, not because I think thin is beautiful, but because I believe that a healthy body, whatever the shape, is something good to aspire towards.

      • Steve says:

        This is exactly what I was talking about! As a nudist/naturist, we have the perfect platform to begin to live a healthier lifestyle. It isn’t about sex appeal or impressing people, but about finding a way to live better. Thanks for sharing, Colin!

  3. While I support your overall thesis, I was taken aback a little by the words “flabby and out of shape.” Are you concerned with appearance or with health? While at 52 I am a little flabby myself, I do make a sincere effort to be healthy. I bike, run, and stay physically active. But at this point in my life, I don’t exercise to have abs of steel, but rather to have a healthy heart, low cholesterol, and a modicum of strength and agility. While my last physical came back with flying colors, you won’t see me in any glossy magazine ads anytime soon!
    Don’t mean to call you out on this as I support your overall approach in this piece. I would love to see more naturist events offer yoga and hiking as a part of the activities. I think whether a person is a nudist or textile, active living is a good thing. I just try to keep myself alert to the difference between looking healthy and being healthy, as there is frequently a very distinct difference.
    Keep up the great blog!

    • Steve says:

      Thank you for pointing that out. I knew the flabby and out of shape was a bit harsh. I have a bit of flab too. I just meant being unhealthy. I understand that not everyone can be in top shape. My knees are bad and I can’t run, but I can bike. That means I get to exercise in upstate NY about six or seven months of the year. Biking is tough in ice and snow. I know people have handicaps that make it difficult at best to be in shape. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the average person who should know better and can do something about it.

      I agree that whether nudist or textile, healthy living is important. I think that the naturist/nudist folks could be a great model for living a healthy lifestyle. We were at one time. Why not now?

  4. Rick Romig says:

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one calling for more emphasis on health and fitness in nudism. I see body acceptance as a first step. Acceptance is good but we also need to see if we can improve upon it. Body acceptance doesn’t mean we’re satisfied with what we see in the mirror and there’s no point in moving forward. It means that we see it for what it is, then figure out what we’re doing right or wrong and then work on what needs improving.

    I don’t want to go back to the regimented calisthenics and all that but I would like to see nudist venues offering more options like vegan/vegetarian fare, setting aside areas for fitness activities, or offering activities like yoga, pilates, etc.

  5. Newoldnudist says:

    I am overweight and out of shape. When I’m at the nudist resort, I swim, I walk, I hike. My blood sugar drops. It’s a healthy experience. The problem is that you can’t tell by looking at me. Nor can you tell that I have lost a good deal of weight. All you can tell is that I’m fat, old, and naked.

  6. You and I have a lot in common, and I understand your frustration. Here’s how I see it.
    Most clubs do offer vegetarian and vegan alternatives. If yours doesn’t, why not suggest it, and offer to make something to contribute?
    Most clubs do have yoga. If yours doesn’t, why not find a yoga teacher who is willing to come to your club and make it happen?
    Many clubs have meditation gardens and events that teach spiritual techniques. Again, if yours doesn’t and you want these sorts of things why not make it your mission to make it happen?
    The nudist demographic is an interesting thing. Apart from being nudists, most club members are quite mainstream. They eat meat, drink beer, identify as monotheistic and may not vote the way you or I would. We need these mainstream people to continue supporting the clubs. Insulting them doesn’t help anything.
    Fat-shaming is a heinous thing, and I think you are guilty of this in your post. Do you know that most obese women carry their weight in reaction to sexual molestation in childhood? Body acceptance is more that a catch-phrase, it is an opportunity for healing, just as yoga and plant-based diets are.
    That you said body acceptance is used as an “excuse” makes me very angry. People do not need to be “excused” for whatever way their bodies might be. Who made you the judge? And how is your attitude in any way compassionate or healing?
    Even though your club, like most, probably has a majority of mainstream people, most of those people will not mind if you start activities and provide options that are to your liking. Some will thank you. Some may be encouraged to make lifestyle changes, as you have. Some will laugh at you. That’s OK too.
    Complaining and insulting never gets anything done. And I would rather see a flabby person by the pool than a yogini with breast implants!

    • Steve says:

      You make some good points. I knew that some would think that I was bashing people who are overweight.

      As far as the flabby person by the pool or the yogini with breast implants. I want them both there. I just want them to have the options for a healthier life than they might have. My club does not have those options, but you are absolutely right, I need to step up and offer those things.

      • That’s excellent. I wish you luck! Most clubs are really happy when people volunteer to share what they know and to make options and activities happen. I will follow your blog to see how it all turns out for you.
        You know what they say…”each one teach one.”

      • Steve says:

        I am a yoga instructor. The problem is, I teach on Saturday morning and then the club is an hour and a half away. Kinda hard to teach unless it was Sunday morning.

  7. carlnudi says:

    You made the point quite well about some naturists/nudists who, just as in the general population, have taken a backlash attitude about being healthy through a good diet and exercise. I think more than changing our fellow naturists’/nudists’ habits, we need to change their attitude. We got to somehow show them that we are above the mainstream and get them to think differently.

  8. Danee says:

    Love, Love this…
    In America, I find most who are long time AANR clubbers have no clue about FKK, its roots, its philosophy and beginnings. That is rather sad and fitness and health was a part of it. Still is, in many Euro countries to an extent. We are not all runway models or Adonis’ but still, you can see in France and other countries that the FKK beliefs about health and fitness are important.
    Reposting on internationalyn.org with many thanks for this!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks! Some have seen my post as an attack on those less than the perfect idea of the perfect body, whatever that is. I think we as nudists/naturists have an opportunity to promote healthier lifestyles.

  9. Gregory Heath says:

    I understand it. I lost 100 pounds this past year so I could be healthier. I was also thinking it would make me feel better as I tried Naturism for the first time 2 months ago. I was afraid of not being accepted with my fat gut. Really it was learning to eat right and love myself. I have learned to be ashamed of my body. Peeling off my clothes has taught me and constantly reminds me that I feel better when I treat myself better. Part of the reason I tried Naturism is that I need to learn to love myself instead of eating myself to death. Even Nude, you can choose to love others or never get beyond “looks”. I choose to love others and love them for who they are beneath their skin. Learn to love myself and feel better in my heart, and celebrate life with my new naturist friends. Being a new Naturist, I have had to grow in my acceptance of myself and others. It has been a wonderful experience.

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