Clay Tablets, Bank Loans And Fitness Debt

The first known records of debt can be traced back to the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia who occupied the banks of the Euphrates river over 5000 years ago. Clay tablets inscribed with an obligation of future payment and marked with the borrowers seal would be held by temple creditors to keep track of amounts owed. Non-payment could result in you and your family being coerced into forced labour until the debt was met, sometimes this could last for generations!

Today debts have moved on from clay tablets to bank loans, mortgages, overdrafts and credit cards but the principles remain the same. Go too deep for too long and our debts have the potential to spiral out of control with potentially disastrous consequences.

The same could be said for fitness.

Sustained periods of physically inactivity lead to the accumulation of fitness debt. The deeper this grows, the harder it becomes to repay. Muscles weaken, joints stiffen, energy systems deteriorate and circulation declines all of which undermines our very ability to move which further compounds the problem.

Unlike financial debts, fitness debts cannot be repaid in one lump sum. The only option is to chip away at them through consistent (and ideally varied) physical activity. Such repayment options could include:

  • Walking
  • Lifting
  • Sprinting
  • Climbing
  • Stretching
  • Swimming
  • Playing

Consistently applied and steadily progressed these types of activity have the potential to lift our body out of fitness debt and eliminate many of it’s associated physical drawbacks.

The good news is that once the fitness debts are cleared it is relatively easy to stay in credit. All it takes is an ongoing investment in movement, exercise and physical activity.


  • Debt - The First 5000 Years by David Graeber