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Going to the Gym

Yesterday I was typing up some old journal entries and came across the below one on my thoughts about going to the gym, and it amused me enough that I thought I'd share it.

May 16, 2005

I had my fitness re-evaluation today, and it reminded me of something I’ve been thinking about for a while, which is how very strange the concept of going to a gym is. We pay money to deliberately stretch and tear our muscles, trying to cultivate pain, and for what goal? To look better. Of course [that’s not always the reason, or all of it], although [it’s often] a large part. Some of us do go in order to be stronger, to ward of other problems, and some go to recuperate from injuries.

But it just strikes me as increasingly strange that so many jobs these days are so sedentary, and consume so much of our time, that we have to resort to these artificial means to stay healthy. It would seem to make more sense to… try to create jobs that involve some form of physical activity, but that raises all sorts of other problems.

How alien this would all seem to a farmer, or anyone in previous centuries for whom manual labor was simply part of everyday life. What odd measures we must take, resorting to the use of machines that resemble nothing so much as torture devices, and may sometimes feel like them. And we’re willing to go, grunt and sweat and strain and disrobe and shower – all in the company of perfect strangers. Not everyone is, of course, but enough, and it becomes a strange, communal activity, this abuse of our bodies in the pursuit of artificially gained strength. Odd.

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