So I have a dilemma with exercise that I suspect a lot of people share: I’d ultimately like to have access to the facilities that many gyms offer, both the weights and the exercise classes, but the whole surrounding consumer setup is completely offputting to me.
First of course is the price structure, where they take money whether or not I use the gym. Smooth, gyms, smooth. (Yes, I am aware that they make more money — I assume far more, given how bad it is for customer perceptions of their industry — that way. But I am not interested in gyms’ profitability, in capitalism I highly value my right to be an utterly selfish consumer in that respect.) So, yeah. Is my (realistically) once-a-week-with-occasional-skips use of a gym worth $30 a week to me? No.
Assuming I got past that, here’s what needs to happen, for example, for me to join Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre’s gym, which is most likely because I’d like access to their pool rather than paying for a gym and a pool. First, I need to go there with my husband, because it would be a joint membership. OK, there go about ninety-five percent of my trips there. Secondly, my husband must either not be in a hurry to get back to work, or we must not have our bored toddler fussing at us. So, that’s the remaining five percent of trips. Then, once I did sign up, there’s compulsory personal training sessions focusing on my fitness goals. I can’t think of anything I find less inspiring, than to discuss my fitness goal “I enjoy moving my body sometimes” with people who are trained to equate fitness goals with either “I want to achieve top percentile cardiovascular or strength performance” or “I want to lose a fair chunk of weight”. I rather suspect this mismatch is deliberate too, because there’s no better customer than one who has been persuaded that they really need to keep this gym membership… for the far-away day that the sense of being too inferior a body to use the gym goes away.
Things I plan to do!
- visit the Canberra area at some point, as we know several people there and want to spend more time with all of them. I’m currently thinking sometime in March.
- have someone(s) over for dinner several times, maybe every other month or so.
- join a gym. I realise this doesn’t fall under the category of “fun” in many of these lists, but YOGA CLASSES and maybe a chance to try pilates and maybe Zumba and free weights. I miss the pool already dammit.
- occasional shore diving, probably with a local-ish club (Frog Dive?).
- at long last, five years after we started on swimming fitness, I’d like to do PADI Rescue Diver, ideally combined with a Nitrox course. That, barring perhaps PADI Deep, will likely be the last SCUBA course I do in the foreseeable future. As a prerequisite, this requires renewing our First Aid certification, which is a February todo.
- some kind of organised parent-kid thing with Vincent: book group or something like that.
Things I’d love to do, but realistically… we’ll see. I definitely won’t do all these things.
- Travel to the US/Canada. I’d like to visit Liga, spend some time in the mountains, go to one or two great conferences… This will probably happen sometime in or before 2013, but I don’t know that it will be 2011.
- Go to the snow again. And maybe level up in snowboarding again. Or work out if I should be on skis instead.
- Baby swimming lessons for Vincent.
- Discover or suspect that sedentary lifestyles are causing people health problems.
- Further discover to your shock and horror that people are doing this for such damaging inexplicable reasons as
earning a living in an occupation requiring mostly/entirely sedentary desk work.
- Point out how easy it would be if people would just think a little and spend a bit more of their day exercising. Everyone wants to live longer right? People are so silly. It’s not like there’s some kind of counter-incentive encouraging them to do the job they’re paid for. They just don’t know how unhealthy it is to sit around all day!
- Break the exercise up into bite sized portions so as to point out that it’s even easier than people think. It’s not an hour a day! It’s 30 minutes a day! Plus 30 minutes extra, in small units of time!
There are even advanced forms of this manoeuvre. For example, you could set up some kind of cycle. Because people don’t spend much time with their children either! And they don’t cook healthy meals from scratch! And employers have noticed that their employees are oddly unwilling to work the long hours this tough economy requires! If we just remind them about all of these things, they’ll be able to find an hour a day to exercise, another half hour for changing clothes and showering and such for exercise reasons, an hour a day for cooking, a couple of hours for the kids, an hour for commuting, ten or eleven hours for the office and then there’s still the opportunity to remind them that seven and a half hours sleep is really only just acceptable and that we’re probably designed for more!
Oh, did I say an hour of exercise every day? Oops. That’s pretty nice of me. Actually you just need three or four. Caring for yourself: it’s all about the ‘just’.