Thursday, October 16, 2008


I went to the gym today, an event which happens rather more often than even I'm sure I believe. When I was there I was thinking about something that my cousin (who is super ultra fit) said about a good bit of exercise. She mentioned how it made her feel better afterwards, and how she found it invigorating - and she said it in a way that suggested that this was a universal reaction to running, cycling, running, etc. This is a line that I've heard many times from various different people, and it's a line which I think may well be the reason why a lot of people like me give up on this particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle.

Allow me to explain. I hate exercise. I don't feel invigorated, I feel pain and misery. I've learned to expect this, but I worry that a lot of people give up when they realise that the promised moment when it stops being torture isn't ever going to arrive for them; I worry that they feel awkward and out-of-place when others talk about how good it makes them feel and start lying to fit in with the others. I know I did for a while. It took me a long while before I realised the actual reason why I feel good when I get home from the gym. It isn't endorphins or whatever, but simply because that point marks the furthest I can get from the time when I'll feel obliged to go to the gym again.

I just want to make this clear. I go to the gym because I eat a lot, I'm quite vain, and I have a vague sense of concern for my long-term health. Not because I enjoy inflicting that stuff on myself. I think if more people said that they exercise because they think it's a good idea, rather than because it makes them love life, then more people would be willing to keep up.