The gyms are overrun with resolution makers, new members, holiday over indulgers. The regulars are cranky, complaining, whining about the extra bodies on the machines, overcrowded classes, unclean machines.
I say, bring it on! The crowds may thin out by next month, but with the obesity problem hitting our nation right now I think we should be thankful that people are thinking about their health, at least moving from the front of their TV and computer screens to raise their heart rates for awhile.
I read an article this week in the Chicago Tribune about a gym that recently opened, specifically for people who want to lose 50+ pounds. Once they “graduate” they leave that gym. The article also talked about overweight people feeling uncomfortable, unwelcome in “regular” gyms since they can only walk a short while, struggle in classes.
I now have more empathy for those people who feel awkward in a gym. I had a hysterectomy two weeks ago, and just this week I went to the gym to walk the treadmill. And right now it is a vveerryyy slllooowwww walk. At first I noticed a few people around giving me hidden glances. I found myself explaining to people who I know why I was only walking, at first embarrassed by my “exercise”.
But, after about 30 minutes, I realized that I was at least doing something to get healthy again, turned up my music, secretly smiled to myself and kept walking. Then went back the next day and walked more.
So when you see someone moving slowly, it might be their first time at the gym. Or maybe they are recovering from an illness, injury, childbirth, surgery. Don’t look sideways at those who cannot figure out a weight machine–offer to teach them. Give a smile to someone looking nervous before their first class. So they can’t run as fast as you on the treadmill? Get that smirk off your face and be your own competition. And know that we do notice you looking.
It’s the only exercise I can do for six weeks–no yoga, no horses, no cross country skiing (if it ever snows this winter), no walking with my two dogs, no weights. But I will continue to walk on the treadmill, outside on spring-like Chicago days, to stay in some shape.
So, no more excuses. Get off your butts and move. And if all you can do is walk, I applaud you. I may join you. Happy new year. C