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I'm sure if you've done "bootcamp" style classes, you've done so-called "suicides." You know, where you sprint a short distance, then back, then further, and back, and so on. These are also called shuttle runs, but somewhere along the way, calling them suicides became the common nomenclature.

It never sat right with me. Suicide affects millions of people per year. There are people who are suicide attempt survivors (folks who made an attempt to end their own life and lived). And there are suicide loss survivors (folks who know a person who died by suicide). It is estimated that for each person who dies by suicide, there are 135 people impacted by that death. My sister survived the loss of two of her friends by suicide when they were all in high school. Her graduating class was huge, over 800 people. That is over 800 young people who, during their formative high school years, experienced a loss by suicide. People who lose a loved one by suicide are at greater risk for future suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and also death by suicide. This is a huge problem, and one that impacts many people in various ways.

Losing a loved one by suicide is painful in complicated ways. People who survive a loss by suicide may struggle with guilt and shame. People may say insensitive things to them about their loved one. Grief from suicide loss is a complex journey. I say this to clarify the scope and impact of suicide on people.

It is for these reasons that calling an exercise "suicides" has never sat right with me. When I first became certified in group fitness, I researched other names for that move, and learned that they are also called shuttle runs. Which, I may add, is a perfectly descriptive name for what you're doing!

It may seem insignificant to some people, but when you are struggling with suicidal thoughts yourself, and your fitness instructor says, "Now we're going to do suicides!", it really is significant. If you've been calling this exercise "suicides", I ask you to consider whether you could make the shift in your language to calling them shuttle runs instead. It really is about being a kind human.

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