To gym or not to gym: a defence of outdoor sport

Wake up and smell the roses. Smell the dew. The mud and the grass. Don’t close yourself into an overly-lit, boxed-in cauldron of leather, heavy metal and sweat; come to be known as the gym. This month I would encourage all to spread their legs into the brisk outdoors and save their £25.

I understand that going to the gym can be rewarding – I get that. But I don’t see the excitement in it. It is a routine. It is the same every time. And it will all come to nothing once you stop going, that’s for sure. The outdoors on the other hand can bring adventure, life lessons and fresh air that will leave your lungs feeling as good as new.

To give this some personal context, I can call upon experience from both the epicentre of indoor fitness and my county’s football pitches. During my time in sixth form, I went to the gym twice a week, whilst also playing for a Sunday League side with some friends. When I cast my mind back to the latter and think of those blissful mornings of 11-aside football, stand-out moments never elude me. I can recall instances where I surprised myself, some which ignited joy and others which brought despair. Such occasions on the pitch with teammates (or alone for that matter) help develop character and mental strength, and most importantly, are fun. The only thing I got from going to the gym all year, was, a bit vainer. Oh – and a persistently bad shoulder.

All those gains which got me gawking at that big mirror proceeded to flee my body as soon as I stopped going to the gym. What a waste of time. I’m convinced that just hanging around in there, as some do, brings on those temporary bulges of muscle. They pump something in the air. That’s why those guys who spend so much time there – but look like they’re doing nothing except adding Taylor Swift tracks to their Spotify queue – are actually the biggest. It’s the devilish caveat to gym-going: by all means, buy some gear, get your tunes in order and make some gains, but nobody’s going to see you on the outside so it doesn’t really matter anyway. My good friend became a gym-fiend a couple of months ago, and I haven’t seen him since. I hear he’s bigger now, I hear he’s made some gains, but I’ll never know for sure. You know why? I’d have to go to the gym. And that’s not happening anytime soon.

Despite all this, I highly recommend going to the Edge for the three ’S’s – the Swim, Sauna, Steam room combo – the holy trinity of the lido. It’s a delightful leisure pursuit in a deliriously uninspiring environment, and certainly worth nicking your gym-obsessed housemate’s student card for.

Mikey Kaye 

Photo credit: Pixabay