‘All change is not growth, all movement is not forward’ Ellen Glasgow
For many years I’ve avoided gyms in preference to outdoor exercise like walking, swimming or cycling. This is all very well on a fine weather day in Sydney. Away from home, I don’t have much real exercise besides purposeful pavement trudging and sightseeing rambles. I’m in my element lounging by the pool or on the beach. Even if there’s a pool for laps in tropical locations it’s usually too hot to be energetic so I choose to be lazy.
When traveling for business or pleasure I’ve never used hotel gyms. To be honest, I find gyms intimidating. I simply don’t know what to do on the high tech equipment. Combine my naivety with buffed, sweaty bodies and thumping music and I have reasons (read excuses) aplenty to be steer clear of gyms. I’m a lot like Lauren in this clip from the Catherine Tate show -
This week, I had access to a hotel gym and decided it was time to at least give a gym a try. What is it about them that attracts so many people? I was daunted even going into it. What to do, how to do it? I headed straight for something close to my comfort zone: an exercise bike. It was exciting to see the all the settings on the bike and, as I pedalled, I tracked my speed, distance, calories used, revs per minute and heart rate (fascinating to see the fluctuations). All this while watching the BBC world news on the bike screen. That is, until a sudden WARNING that my maximum heart rate of 176 (eek!) had been reached frightened me off the bike – and was indication enough that I’d had a pretty good workout.
Pedalling silently, sandwiched between panting bodies is not really my idea of fun. However, I enjoyed doing a compressed work out and having all the exercise data. I was surprised how much effort was required to cycle non-stop at quite a fast pace for 40 minutes to cover 20 kilometres which I easily do on my outdoor bike rides but not with such intensity and always with some leisurely downhill runs, good conversations and at least one refreshment stop.
I now understand a bit of the attraction of gyms. In addition to a healthy feel good, their appeal lies in being able to exercise regardless of the weather, in a variety of locations (especially when travelling), in concentrated time, and in company. In future, now that I’ve found my niche in the gym, I’ll take my togs with me when traveling. I have to conclude, though, that I’m not a gym junkie-in-the-making.
See the Change Explained tab for more on: Excuses
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