Friday, November 24, 2006

Physical fitness is free...for smart people

At some point all of us have had the temptation to join a gym. A friend tells you about a cool gym he has joined or you read an add in the papers. The gym has impressive stuff like sophisticated machines, training programs, weight loss guarantees, etc. You have not been exercising of late, so the idea of getting into shape appeals to you.

So you decide and go and get yourself enrolled. They offer you a program for a year, convincing you that it is the best deal and will save you a lot of money. You think to yourself - 'If I enroll for a year, it will be an incentive to keep going because I've paid so much money! Besides this is such a good bargain!' The deal is struck and your money is gone.

And you start going to the gym. Initially the enthusiasm is high. You are enjoying yourself and you don't skip a day. A month goes by. The daily routine is getting tougher, the exercise sessions longer and boring. The pinch you felt in your pocket is becoming a distant memory. You skip a day. You start getting distracted, and now you are going alternate days.
2 months pass by, you haven't been to the gym in a week. You make yourself go the next day.
A year has passed by. You have forgotten about the gym. So many people get themselves into this situation everyday, month and year.

Yes there are people who go the whole year and for many years after that. I congratulate them on their commitment. This post is not for them. It is also not for those committed to body building. This is for people like me - the lazy who dream that someday they will get into shape. And believe me, we are in the majority.
My message is simple. Don't waste your hard earned money on a gym. Hey! wait a minute. I'm not telling you not to exercise. Hear me out.

Physical fitness is not an investment of money. It is an investment of time. No gym, however cool, is going to get you into shape if you are not there! So the real question is not 'Can I afford this gym?' but 'Can I take out the time to exercise?' Just paying lots of money is no incentive to keep you going. You have to be committed to taking out the time. So many people try to buy health with their cash and fail. The benefits of investing cash are obvious to them, yet they fail to invest time for health. Go to a gym, heck go to an expensive one if you can afford it, but understand that you will have to invest time. That really, is the bottom line.

If you can take out the time, physical fitness is free, literally. Simply because there are so many ways to exercise. Go jogging on the road. Go bicycling. Go swimming. Do aerobics at home in front of your T.V. All these will get you in shape. Yes an equipped gym with a good training program may work better, but only marginally. A gym is just an option not a prerequisite. The prerequisite is time. I spend Rs. 2 and 45 minutes everyday to jog in a beautiful jogging park.

So don't sign up to an expensive gym, end up not going and waste your money. Instead realize that it is time you have to invest, invest it in exercise, get fit and save your money!

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