Celebrate the Differences!

Editor's Note: When you see these three dots surrounded by a gray rectangle — 1 — you can click on it to get further information about the topic. Click a second time, and the message goes away.

This article was edited and updated on November 8, 2015.

We are Unique!

On Sesame Street years ago there was a little portion of the show that was called "One of these things is not like the other." 2

The first stanza of this little song went like this:

One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn't belong,

Can you tell which thing is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

Although it is a children's song designed to get young children to pick out differences in objects, it suits the topic of this article quite well.

Although we may look the same in many ways, each of us is unique — identifiable with incredible accuracy with just our DNA markers.

We are not the same in all ways

A group of adults who meet together have one commonality: we are human. However, it doesn't take long to find differences in people — just as you can see the differences in the balls above. Our obvious differences include:

Beyond these, each of us carries genetic markers that will affect our health and well being, and even (perhaps) the length of our lives.

Here are some physical traits which we know are genetically handed down to us; you will note that most of them have little to do with our health and more to do with our appearance:

Characteristics like curly hair are inherited.

What genetic markers might affect our health?

Our DNA tells all.

We can also inherit a number of diseases and disorders. Here are a few of the most common:

When you meet someone in fitness class, avoid stereotypes and judgements

When you walk into a fitness class and introduce yourself to new people, you cannot know what that person's genetic make-up is or what physical challenges they may have because of injuries and/or disease.

Maybe they don't lift their arm because they have a frozen shoulder.

Maybe they find it difficult to do the cardio movements because they recently sprained their ankle and it's not completely healed yet.

People who live daily with rheumatoid arthritis may look fine, but they may be in constant pain.

A person with diabetes may know that this one-hour exercise class is vital to their continued health and well-being, yet they may look healthy to others.

If a person has arrived in fitness class, hoping to conquer their depression, they may be very quiet and movements may be lackluster, but they are there and encouragement to return is possibly essential.

If you are an active participant, your support is valuable to a newcomer

When someone new comes to class, please welcome them and help them to find equipment and to learn the routines and rules. They may eventually tell you about their particular health issues — or they may not. Wait for them to make that decision.

As a fitness instructor, I greatly appreciate those fitness class participants who help new people. Your assistance may very well make the difference between that person continuing with the class or leaving.

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. 

  2. It's entirely possible that they still use it; however, I haven't watched an episode of Sesame Street since my son was about five years old — which is, unbelievably, more than 40 years ago!