Day: January 7, 2012

Physical Activity is Not Optional

Regular gym-goers always dread January, as it brings the flood of the Resolutioners (or Resolutionists, whichever you prefer).  Classes are more crowded, equipment is harder to snag, weights are being put back incorrectly, etc.  Most of these people will trickle off in a few months, and these actually annoy me more than the ones who stay.  Because the ones who end up keeping their resolutions, the ones who become regular gym-goers, they are more like me, you see.  They’ve realized something.

They’ve realized that physical activity is not optional.

GymThis is something I’ve come to realize in my past year of gym-going.  I’ve always been pretty regular about the gym;  I’m lucky, I have two parents who go to the gym 5-6 times a week despite often working until 7:00 or 8:00 at night.  They’ve been frequent gym-goers for as long as I can remember, and when I became old enough to use the gym at the JCC I joined them.  So from age 14 on I’ve been going to the gym.  Sure, I’ve dropped the ball for a few months here or there, and the year and a half I spent working retail was a bit sparse in gym-going, but I’ve always been able to pick it back up.  My period of funemployment caused (enabled?) me to be one of those people who schedule their days around their work-out, and I’m happy to say that after five weeks at the Durham Arts Council I am still sticking with my fitness routine of at least an hour a day, 5-6 days a week.  And this is because I know now that remaining physically active is just not an option in America today.

You don’t have to go to the gym and take classes like I do.  You can be a runner–I’m not a runner, that isn’t for me.  You can go rock climbing, or hiking, or swim laps–whatever, you just have to do something.  We sit around too much, and we eat too much, and it is way too easy to get overweight and unhealthy (as evidenced by much of America) for physical activity to be optional.

I’m not saying anything new here, so I apologize if this is boring.  But it is how I explain myself to people who react in shock and awe when I tell them that, yes, I do work all day, and then I put on my gym clothes at work and go straight to the gym.  It just isn’t optional.  I look at going to the gym the way I look at going to work: it is something I have to do, even if I don’t really want to.

I’m hoping that the resolutionists now clogging up my gym have this realization as well, I really do.  I won’t enjoy fighting for floor space in my classes, but I’ll be happier knowing that another group of people is adopting a healthier lifestyle with the realization that this just isn’t a choice anymore.  It is a necessity.