Don’t Go to the Gym

Last fall I joked that I was working on a theme of four-word post titles, and someone tweeted me a helpful topic suggestion about not driving to the gym (apologies to whomever made the suggestion, I can’t seem to find it anymore).

At the time, I thought it was a good idea but that I’m not really the one to write it, as I don’t really go to the gym.* Sure, there is something silly about getting in your car to go somewhere to exercise, but I think it’s more my style to fight the hypo. Rather than recommend that you get an extra mile or whatever of cardio by propelling your own body to the gym, I’m just going to say: Don’t go to the gym.

OK, having made the simple, declarative statement, let me start with the caveats. Gyms are great if you enjoy them, and my amateur understanding is that there is some evidence that resistance training is good both for maintaining your metabolism and bone density. So, yeah, go to the gym if you want.

But for the rest of you who go to the gym only because you believe you have to, or probably more likely, pay for a gym but don’t go, just don’t. You don’t need it. If you’re like me, you hate it.

Part of what’s great about living in at least somewhat urban place is that movement and activity can be built into your daily goings on. If you live closer to stuff, you don’t need a car to get to it, especially if you also shop closer to home. You might even find don’t you don’t need to go to the gym.

A (snowy) outdoor treadmill
A (snowy) outdoor treadmill

Don’t get me wrong, I know it can seem like a real pain not to drive everywhere. But try this to maybe scare yourself into driving less. Start tracking how much you move. Get a pedometer or an app for your phone and see how many steps per day you take when you live in your car.

Everyone’s health insurance provider would like us to walk at 10,000 steps a day. If you use your car for all of your transportation needs, how close do you get? Not anywhere in the vicinity, right?

The good news is that you don’t need to go all the way to being car-free (I’m not!). Just start thinking about whether you can accomplish the errand you’re planning without driving. Maybe you can walk to a store that has some of what you need (you can get the rest tomorrow). Maybe you can ride a bike. You can probably get there (eventually) on transit, and at least you’ll move a bit to get to and from the bus or train.

Heated, indoor treadmill
Heated, indoor treadmill

I know, you’re so busy and your errands will take a bit longer. But just think about all the time you’ll save by not going to the gym!

*Actually, at the time I lived in a building that had a gym, which I would use from time to time and not drive to, but still. These days, I do some push-ups and core exercises at home.

Adam Miller

About Adam Miller

Adam Miller works downtown and lives in South Minneapolis. He's an avid user of the city's bike paths, sidewalks and skyways. He's not entirely certain he knows what the word "urbanist" means.