Every culture fulfills it needs in different ways resulting in culture diversity that is seen throughout our world today. It’s our culture that defines our religion, arts, morals, laws and customs. Every aspect of human activity can be included in defining our culture. Anthropology is necessary in a field that seeks to understand how all the aspects of our species are related-how our biology and our culture interact; how our past has influenced our present; how one facet of culture, such as economics, is related to some other facet, such s religion (Parks, 2008,p. 6-17). Studying cultures have allowed anthropologists to use a qualitative research approach. This approach seeks to understand events, actions, norms and values form the perspective of the people which are being studied.
For my ethnography project I chose to observe the interaction of a local fitness center. My observation began at about 1:30 p. M. And the temperature was 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The fitness center hours of operation were Monday through Friday 5:00 a. M. Until 1 1:00 p. M. And Saturday and Sunday 7:00 a. M. Until 6:00 p. M. My observation took place on a Friday afternoon. I choose the fitness arena because of the increasing number of people desiring to stay fit yet Americans are plagued with an obesity problem. Christy Honker, Ph D, from the SST. Louis University Department of Public Health has done intensive research for promoting more walking within neighborhoods by building more activity friendly communities (Change, 2009). Gyms, personal trainers, no-Carr, protein shakes, energy pills and high protein diets are on the rise every day.
Exercise helps control weight gain, manage stress, prevent illness and increase energy. Here are something I’ve observed during my 30 minute observation. The fitness center is a state of the art facility which offers activities for masses. I spent 30 minutes in the cardiac room for my observation with this overview: There was a row of 16 stationary bikes followed by a row of 10 elliptical machines then a row of 12 treadmills. On the wall in front for all to view were 18 televisions and each on a different program ranging from sports, news, talk shows, movies and daily sitcoms.
The back section of the room consisted of three blue floor tats with toe bars for sit-up or crunches, 4 stair climbers and 5 other pieces of exercise equipment that I never seen before. There were 8 ceiling fans but only two were working. The air conditioning was on to aid in a moderate room temperature. All four walls were painted white. The lighting in the room was adequate. There were two entrance ways into the cardiac room four open windows with two on the left wall and two on the right wall.
An average of seven people occupied cardiac room constantly with an average workout time of about 20-30 minutes. Age group ranged from ass through ass years. When entered the room there was 4 males and 3 females with 2 males and Female on the elliptical and 2 males and 2 females on the treadmill. The total layout of the fitness center consisted of a front desk with a receptionist to help with information and issuing of equipment. Down the hall near the cardiac room were the men and women locker rooms to store personal items, take showers and the use of a sauna.
Across from cardiac room was two function fitness rooms follow by two open window racquetball courts and stretching room. Located on the there side of the cardiac room was an aerobic room, spinning room and circuit training room. Immediately behind the televisions in cardiac room on the right side there was a small passage way which leads to the free weights and benches room. Adjacent side passage way leads to the Hammer exercise equipment. Towards the back of the fitness center you could find the basketball courts with one main court and two additional courts on the sides.
The floor of the court offer attachment for volleyball play and a net which hung over the court could be lowered to separate the court into two halves. Above and around the edge of the basketball courts were an upstairs jogging and walking track. To access to the track, you could use stairs or elevator. In the front near the reception desk was a room set aside for mothers to exercise while their small children played and a physical therapy rooms. One pattern observed as I walked into the cardiac room, no one was exercising next to someone else.
There was a two to three machine space between each individual. When new individuals walked into the room, they carefully looked around and chose a machine that was at least two machines from the next person. Everyone wore the appropriate fitness attire shorts, sweat pants and standard exercise t-shirt. All had earphones in their ears and exercised while watching televisions or listened to their own personal electronic device. Only one person used a water bottle while exercising.
When someone finished exercising, they would wipe off their machine using the towels and cleaning solution provide by the fitness center. The first concept I would like to analyze would adoption. Adapted is when an organism has physical traits and behaviors that allow it to survive in a particular environment (Park, 2008, P-45). The ecological niche of all and new arrival in the cardiac room was to stop and analyze who was working on what machine, then make a decision to use a machine not in close proximity to someone else.
The second concept looked at would be speciation. Speciation is the evolution of a new species (Parks, 2008, P-58). No longer do you just see men in the gym exercising for muscles or strength but women have become more active in stay fit. The percent in the cardiac of men to women was almost equal. The third concept would be artifact. Artifacts are any object made intentionally (Parks, 2008, P-67). Several artifacts ere common among the group: headphone, running shoes and some form of personal electronic device. The finally concept would be society.
Society is a group with a shared culture (Parks, 2008, P-74). Somewhere in our culture, we have all come to enjoy our own intimate or personal space. Our created space allows everyone to examine the layout of the room and as each came to a decision to choose an exercise machine several feet from the next person. I’m sure if the cardiac room was full of individuals exercising that the new arrival would took the next available machine. But when faced with a choice in a room here you can pick or chose the machine to use, everyone chooses a machine away from the next person.
It is truly known that fitness has become big part of many American lives. You can observe daily by just running a small errand, you will see people walking or jogging. When I arrived in the cardiac room, I did the same as everyone else and chose an exercise machine that was not within the personal space of someone. This behavior that has become a part of everyday America culture goes on without notice unless thoroughly observed. I was surprise when I began to notice this pattern as new arrivals entered the cardiac mom. Where did this behavior in American culture come from?