Exercising our need to socialize
Exercise may be a dirty word, but the practice can often be enjoyable, especially when it is combined with community-building, or, more simply put, making new friends and spending time with existing ones. This can happen when there is a good environment for active transport, so people walk and cycle together. It can also happen when people exercise together in public spaces.
I get to witness how successful this can be every day I’m in Dhaka (and in other cities I visit): people out walking, playing sports, doing group exercise, and clearly enjoying the socializing. Recently at the playing field near my home and office, I walked with a new friend, who expressed her disappointment that I was out of town during a recent religious celebration to which she had hoped to invite me. As we walked, she repeatedly exchanged a few words with other people also out walking; it began to seem that she knew, and had something to say to, everyone.
I often walk with a former colleague who happens to live nearby; one day her mother approached me to re-introduce herself. It would be fun to draw social networking lines across the people at the playing field who know each other; I imagine they would be extensive and tangled. How great it is when morning exercise is not only healthy and enjoyable, but a way to reconnect with others in our busy lives!