All my life I have never been a fan of hitting the gym. Exercising regularly was a modus operandi that was always going to be tedious and quotidian for me. It meant that I had to stick to a routine in life. Oh, what fun life is without the glorious uncertainties of our daily living! ;) Or so I thought, and believed without an iota of doubt. :)
Or perhaps, I wasn't so keen to jump the gun, since I was sure that the novelty would wear off. Three weeks of exercising and I was sure to go back to using the time 'productively' to read some novels or just relax. :) There was no point in really starting it if I can't get myself to be disciplined about it.
Well, it never really mattered when I was a student. Commuting to my college across Mumbai was an exercise in itself; you didn't really need more of it. :) When I joined work in Bangalore, I seemed to be able to keep a check on my weight simply with my usual diet. I was never much of an 'eater' anyway; so it didn't matter. But then, as I got more settled at my work place, the pounds started coming in.
One of the realities of life as a software engineer is the sedentary lifestyle it comes bundled with. For eight hours a day, most of the effort you put at work is right at your desk. (And well, at times, it does have the tendency to balloon to 16-20 hours for months together at a stretch.) So, the only real exercise is for your fingers typing in, your glazed eyes looking at the computer monitor and a stressed mind muddled with exploring possibilities. (Of course, a hyperactive mind helps ! :))
Once you are back home, your brain just needs to cool off. Which means, 'relaxing' by training your eyes on the idiot box, or typing away to glory in endless chat sessions, or plain good-old 'eat-drink-sleep'. The next day, you are back up and are on the next bus/train to work thinking of how to handle the morning meeting.
Replace the 'software engineer' with any other vocation, and it would still sound pretty much the same. Most of the 'working' generation these days end up leading a sedentary lifestyle (well, at least the white-collar ones). And it's not the only generation that has the problem. Better nutrition & health-care and newer technology has meant that the modern man puts in probably a fraction of the 'physical' efforts of his predecessors. No wonder then that according to the latest stats, eighty percent of adults over the age of 25 in the US are overweight. 78% of them do not even meet basic activity level recommendations. I am sure similar numbers would hold true for most of the developed nations.
The only way to lead a healthy lifestyle then would be to manufacture the activity routines and fit them in our daily lives. For most people, the gym becomes an inevitable need. Of course, it is not the be-all and end-all of being healthy, but for most, it might be the only way. Such are the times that we live in...
So how does a treadmill-phobe like me end up in a gym?
You see, I shifted my residence last week to reduce my commute to office by half. So, when a software engineer suddenly ends up at home before 6 every day, what does he do with all the extra time? Especially, when he is used to 'relaxing' (see aforementioned activities) after dinner. Well, after two weeks, he ends up checking out the gym in the apartment just to find something to do. And in just a week, he finds the whole concept refreshing. From the drudgery of slogging out manufactured activity routines to intoxicatingly addictive gym-phile, in just a week?? Ah, such are the times that we live in... :)