I “DON’T” Heart the Gym

Contrary to the words of Olivia Newton John (click to watch the 80s song) I do not want to get physical. I hate the gym.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably know by now what a Herculean effort it is for me to go to the gym. I detest it, abhor it and despise it. The thought of getting up from my desk after a hard day’s work and running on a rubber belt for 45 minutes, makes my entrails cringe. I cannot stand the flat screen TV showing a ball game, I hate seeing the remnants of the dried up sweat beads on the machines and I supremely hate the big, muscly guys making primitive gruntal sounds while lifting some “not humanly possible to lift” weights.

It is not that I am a couch potato (well, does eating cake on the couch count?) If it doesn’t then I am not a couch potato. I love to walk. In fact, I was born and raised in a small hill station where the only way one could get from point A to point B was via walking. My parents did not own a car and I walked everywhere, never giving second thought to it. It felt as natural as eating cake! (Yes, I confess, I do love cake!)

Now, walking has become an alien activity for me. I feel self-conscious and odd walking on the wide streets with heavy traffic zipping by on both sides. The geographical location of my abode deters walking. In Los Angeles no one walks. Everyone owns a self-contained gigantic, gas guzzling contraption on four wheels fitted with all the latest gadgets. It is called an SUV. It is like being in control of one of the NASA space ships, only on the concrete roads.

In cities such as mine a walker is an oddity. They are uncommon. They are akin to seeing a cow roaming in the streets of Manhattan. The drivers peer from inside their metal contraptions with quizzical expression as to how instead of the four wheels, the two legs are being used.

When we are not steering our road- ships, most of us sit, sit and sit behind our desks in our day jobs. Yes, the Health and Fitness magazines do profess that walking from the parking lot to the office or taking the stairs does count as exercise. However, in my opinion, unless the parking lot is a mile away your office and you climb multiple floors to reach your office; such minimal level of exercise does not count! So, the inference is basically we are leading stationary and sedentary lives.

I find going to the gym unnatural and anomalous. I question the activities performed in the gym. Were our bodies designed to do 15 sets of reps with dumbbells, at least three times? Are our bodies hard-wired to climb up and down, again and again and yet again on a fake plastic step with arms wildly flaying in the air like lunatics? Was the human body conceived with the vision that four days a week, for at least forty-five minutes we would walk mindlessly on a rotating rubber belt?

Therefore, I consider exercise as plastic, inorganic and compensatory. It is similar to taking a vitamin pill in lieu of real, healthy food. It is similar to drinking Red Bull for a quick energy boost rather than eating a balanced meal. It does not have the same effect.

In European countries and even cities such as New York and San Francisco, people walk. Exercise is incorporated in the daily routine, without putting it on the “to do” list, thereby making it a chore along with a million other burdensome chores to be done. People in such places are healthier and it is a form of social interaction as well. Walkers interact with other pedestrians forging friendships and bonds.

I absolutely understand the value of exercise and how important it is for our well-being. But, the gym truly is an exercise deterrent for me.

What is my answer? None, for the time being, except continue with the unnatural thumping at the gym or walk amongst the road-ships. I will continue my quest to derive new ways to “get motivated.”

In the words of my friend and the very fit fellow blogger Tanvii, maybe loving your wardrobe is sufficient motivation to stay fit and hit the gym!