You won’t miss The World’s Strongest Man if you see him strolling through the streets of Louisville this week.
As you might imagine, Mitch Hooper is a mountain of a man.
The 27-year-old Canadian won the prestigious title in April 2023 at the annual World’s Strongest Man Competition in South Carolina by besting the competition in a multitude of herculean tests of strength, such as lifting 463 pounds of stone and pulling a bus for a distance of 25 meters.
But as Hooper was guided Tuesday morning through a tour of Louisville’s Home of the Innocents, it became clear this man’s strengths stretch far beyond the gym.
“I want to destigmatize the idea that being big and being strong means you are aggressive or angry,” he said. “I want to inspire people who might not feel comfortable coming into a gym or exercising that it can actually be a very kind and welcoming environment for people to be a part of.”
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On Friday, Delta Dental of Kentucky, which sponsors The World’s Strongest Man, hung a large banner of Hooper on its office building facing Interstate 64.
After an early morning tour of Louisville’s Home of the Innocence, where Hooper met some of the residents and took photos, The World’s Strongest Man was swept off for a bourbon tour and had plans to make a surprise visit to a local weightlifting gym. It’s all part of Hooper’s greater mission which focused on community health.
With a Masters’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Sydney, Hooper has shown he is serious about public health and wellness since winning The World’s Strongest Man title.
“Life expectancy is going up year-over-year, but health outcomes are trending downward for many people,” Hooper told the Courier Journal. “I want to change that by using my platform to promote the benefits of exercise and physical training.”
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The World Health Organization notes that while mortality rates are trending down, healthy life expectancies aren’t keeping pace. Addiontially the Centers for Disease Control notes that in the United States, as many as four in 10 individuals suffer from multiple chronic diseases. This phenomenon is at least partly due to low levels of physical activity.
Hooper, who is not only a world-class athlete but also a certified strength coach, told the Courier Journal improving health doesn’t have to come with a goal as lofty as the title of Strongest Man in the World. Goals can be bite-sized accomplishments that will improve your quality of life.
“If you consider yourself one of the most unfit people in Kentucky, well fantastic, you have a low bar to start from and it will take you very little time and effort to start to improve,” Hooper said Tuesday. “If you just start with a small amount of walking, you feel much better in the span of two weeks.”
Here are three fitness tips from the World’s Strongest Man:
Why regular exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Regular exercise is the key to becoming healthy regardless of your circumstance, Hooper said. “That can mean walking on a regular basis, you definitely do not have to be training to be The Strongest Man in the World.”
Why you should measure your fitness progress
The second tip is to find a way to measure your progress. Can you walk a minute longer each day or lift a heavier weight by the end of the month, small improvements can lead to enormous health gains.
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Why a consistent exercise routine is key to a healthier lifestyle
The number three tip is “be as consistent as possible,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a huge effort. It doesn’t have to be in a gym but it should be something like walking, even a little bit, almost every day.”
Reach features reporter Kirby Adams at [email protected].