Let’s Get Together

The Social Fitness Crisis

We’re all familiar with the importance of physical fitness for our health. But what about social fitness?

A recent report by the U.S. Surgeon General painted a concerning picture: loneliness is now considered a public health crisis, with negative impacts as significant as smoking and obesity. 58% of Americans report feeling consistently isolated, and young people are especially affected, spending significantly less time with peers compared to previous generations. As The Atlantic recently reflected, this crisis has been decades in the making.

In response, the Surgeon General emphasizes the healing effects of social connection and community. Just like physical exercise strengthens our bodies, social interaction strengthens our emotional and mental well-being. It fosters a sense of belonging, reduces stress, and even boosts our immune system.

What to Watch For:

While we each have a personal responsibility to invest in all types of fitness, businesses are always quick to capitalize on societal trends.

  1. Technologies Evolve
    We should expect technology companies to expand their apps into the social fitness space. Imagine “social health” metrics on your Apple Watch, tracking and rewarding you for having a meal with friends.

  2. Business Strategies Shift
    Businesses may increasingly embrace “Go-to-Community” strategies over traditional “Go-to-Market” tactics, acknowledging the importance of fostering connections and belonging with their new era of stakeholders—their customers and employees.

  3. Clubs Become Cool Again
    Outside of work, the next few years should see a rise in interest around hobby, interest, and sports-centric clubs, plus an uptick in membership in professional and trade associations.

While commerce capitalizes on this cultural crisis—and these potential solutions will do meaningful work in this arena—it will be all of our jobs to ensure authentic connections thrive outside of commercial-led, AI-personalized commodification.

More to Peruse

Brent is a member of the executive team for Opus Agency, partner to world-shaping brands.
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