Fit for Purpose?

Feb 28 | 2016

So here we are! Already well into 2016; Christmas a distant memory - apart from when the credit card bills came in - and New Year resolutions probably long forgotten. Although, in my case, not entirely. 

After contemplating the combined effects of not only copious ingestions of everything considered to be unhealthy but also a large chunk of Anno Domini, I resolved that I should join the local gym.  

Ever been to a gym? It can be quite an intimidating experience full of strange mechanical noises rather like an engineering workshop. There’s a very definite hustle and bustle about these places. Having arrived at my local establishment, I walked up to reception and said that I would like to join and was given an application form. I’ll come straight to the point: I was already a member! Apparently I had joined almost exactly a year earlier and had been paying a monthly fee of £19.99 ever since (a fool and his money …) - although,  in some ways this made me feel much more relaxed because at least, over the previous year, I had been making some sort of a contribution towards my fitness.

During this year I was determined to make a much more tangible use of my investment. I first arrived with a selection of what I thought to be essential clothing – although I had no idea what the current fashion was. I entered the changing room, which was heaving with activity and full of people who seemed to know each other, so I tried to make myself as inconspicuous as possible, sneaked into a corner and started to get changed. I had used a Christmas gift voucher to purchase a pair of shorts on-line that apparently gave me ‘insulated snugness’. Although, looking around me, some of my contemporaries were wearing shorts which appeared to give them ‘insulated smugness’. The trouble with modern tight-fitting gym wear is that if you’ve got it good it makes it look better, but if you’ve got it bad …. 

Anyway, there I was trying to merge into the background when all of a sudden a rather ebullient character burst into the changing room and shouted out: "Gym!" 

"Yes over here" I said rather tentatively. 

"Hi Jim, my name’s Andrew we’re playing squash in a league match." 

He then proceeded to shake my hand whilst I attempted to explain that my name wasn’t Jim and that I had assumed that he was there to ask if anybody was going to the gym, and then he said why would anybody do that and then it got further complicated when the real Jim walked in - and so on deeper and embarrassingly deeper. Andrew and Jim finally made their exit. Metaphorically speaking, I was abruptly left beneath a very bright spotlight and, quite frankly, I would have been far less obtrusive if I had originally burst into the changing room, ran along one of the benches waving my towel in the air and shouted: "Good afternoon everybody my name is Tony Allen I’m a new boy here!" If ever there was a moment when anyone needed to be wearing shorts with insulated snugness, this was it! 

You may not believe it, but this actually did happen. Anyway, I finally made it to the gym, received my induction to the various items of seemingly complicated equipment, had my blood pressure taken (maybe not a good time) and then I was away. Actually once you get going the equipment is not really complicated but simply practical. I am still working out on a regular but perhaps declining basis. In fact I’m mainly working out how I managed to pay out £19.99 per month for a whole year without even noticing! If ever the lady wife finds out .... 

A point to make here is that we should all aspire to fitness. It’s surely a question of discovering a form of exercise that we feel comfortable with. I really do like going to the gym, but I am sure that others find it boring. Some people like running or jogging, but I find that boring. It is very easy to believe that as a society we have become too obsessive about dieting and exercising but it has to be acknowledged that evolution will take a long time to catch up with our increasingly sedentary lifestyle so we really have to help it along in the meantime. 

Conversely, I suppose that we must be doing something right because our average life expectancy is in fact increasing. Of course advances in medical science and reductions in tobacco smoking are contributory factors here - so let’s not get too complacent. The easiest solution is simply to do nothing; alternatively we could try to discover a way of keeping fit which we actually enjoy - if nothing else this would be an interesting exercise!