Who remembers the strange ALS ice bucket challenge? Did you do it? Did you donate? Do you know that unlike other viral social media hashtags, this one actually worked! The challenge helped fund the discovery of a new ALS gene, NEK1, known to be among the most common genetic contributors of the disease. Finally, something good has come of social media! (kidding! I love social media! follow me on Instagram! Please!)
Hoping to gather similar attention and funding, the #22pushupchallenge encourages you to do 22 pushups a day for 22 days. This is in response to the staggering statistic released by the Department of Veteran Affairs that 22 veterans take their lives every day from suicide. (Detailed stats breakdown via CNN.) Humans of New York profiled a researcher that described PTSD as an ‘overactive sympathetic nervous system,’ the fight or flight part of our nervous system. Others show a strong link to biological changes in the brain. Almost 8% of Americans experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime, whereas almost 30% of those that have been in war zones will experience symptoms.
My good friend Morgan, who is an active-duty police officer, asked if I was up to the challenge. This one is a little harder than the ice bucket challenge mainly because it requires you to actually do something. But how do I say no to a request that combines science and weird physical feats? As inconvenient as it is to do 22 push-ups a day for over 3 weeks, think of the inconvenience of living with a brain that doesn’t behave how you want it to. More importantly, if it’s good enough for Charlie Hunnam, it’s good enough for me! So I took the challenge and I’m at day 19. FYI, I started a separate IG account (@americanheavyweight22) to keep me accountable and to make sure I didn’t alienate my friends and lovers by posting daily videos of me doing push-ups horribly and with great exertion. Sometimes I recruited my friends to join me, lucky them.
Anyone interested in joining me for the last few days? Or for another round? Maybe my form will get better.