A friend of mine recently told me of her newest hobby – exercising. Great, I thought, she’s finally getting out and walking more or taking up cycling. She was enthusiastic, explaining how she wanted to lose weight and getting energized made her feel a lot better about herself. She certainly looked better, and she seemed happier than I’d seen her in ages. I mentioned that it must be great getting out with the kids, and I asked what activities she’d been doing.
Activities? What activities? She’d been trying out the local fitness gyms, because she was planning on signing up for a year-long membership. That’s where I blinked – here was a woman, with two young teens who loved to play sports and had energy to spare, and she wanted to be away from them, not part of their active life. She lived in a nice area, with bicycle paths, a public pool that was clean and well-maintained, and there were community sports – yet she was shopping for fitness gyms.
What Happened to Having Fun?
Fitness gyms can be boring. There’s rows of intimidating machines, and the whole environment is sterile, with no one talking to each other as they step on their Stairmasters or jog on treadmills. There’s probably music, but nothing you’d listen to at home, so now compare the scene of that gym to your family. Take your kids, pack them in a car with a healthy lunch, drive out to an open area, open the car doors and toss a Frisbee. In about fifteen minutes, you’ll be running, jumping, reaching, and laughing, enjoying a great moment with your family. Are there any fitness gyms that can give you exercise and fun like that at the same time?
Fitness gyms seem to focus on one thing and that’s keeping your body in shape. No one can fault wanting to stay fit, but don’t you want more than getting your heart rate up and coming home with sweaty clothes? Parents are complaining their kids never have anything to do and no interest in doing anything. Why not get your young ones and teens into the kick of having a great time, without telling them you’re looking for the great outdoors to replace sterile fitness gyms?
There are plenty of activities anyone could do to keep in shape. Two bicycles or a couple of pairs of roller blades are likely within the same price range as a year’s membership at fitness gyms, and you get much more enjoyment out of them. You’d profit from fresh air, good company from a friend, chit chat as you cycle along, new things, and places to see. Sports equipment usually lasts many years, if well maintained, while memberships at fitness gyms need to be replaced annually. While centers with equipment have their place, most people would get more from being outdoors, and they’d be working on their heart, not just their health.