Going to the gym had given me no more joy, and it had become a chore. Perhaps it is now internally I had gone more quiet and hence I find the loud music too jarring for my ears. Instead I prefer the quiet nature of the soft breeze, sunset and happy kids playing along the path I use to walk on.
So, after some ding dong for about 6 months, I pulled the plug on my gym membership….for the third time.
Yet, undeniably the gym does has its benefit. Even though I’ve grown to dislike the place, but once I step it, I always had a target goal to achieve. In which I would not leave until I’ve achieved it. It does not matter if the calorie indication is accurate or not- but it does give a good indication of the amount of calories you burn. It would not be too far off.
When you use the cardio machines, you would realise that it is real hard to just burn off 200kcal. Real hard- which should make us think twice before gobbling that amount of food. When the caloric counter goes up to slloowwwlly, we would then rev up the intensity such as increasing the incline, speed and difficulty of the exercise.
But if you are exercising in nature, it is a bit hard because there is no clear measure. Not sure about you, I tend to take it a little easy…..too easy. Just like a scroll in the park….literally.
Where there is structure, machines, weight machines, classes to help manage the exercise – that all we need to do is to get on the machines or the classes to start burning calories, when we are on our own, we need to create a structure or a program. It gets hard.
Also, gym have all the weight/strength training machines, classes to work at te core muscles and a host of free weights, dumbells, equipments that can help sculpture that body. When you go gymless, you would need to get creative and use more body weight instead. The effects can sometimes be more satisfying because push-ups, squats and lunges are harder but give a more natural toned look- and it is something you can do anywhere without any equipment. Once you are used to exercising without equipment, you would get at it when watching TV, in your hotel room during a business trip, etc.
Joy of exercising alongside nature
But we need to ask ourselves- which type of exercise gives us more joy? If you are the social, happening and finds it most motivating to go for classes to burn off those calories, then you would benefit from a gym membership. But if you prefer solitude, peace and nature, then going back to nature may be more theraupetic.
I am definitely exercising more often compared to when I was going to the gym. And doing it with much more joy but lower intensity that translates to lesser results (unless it is accompanied by reduced food intake).
My day job is very stressful and I find the calming walks/jogs soothing and more effective for me to destress and wind down than a visit to a crowded sweaty air-conditioned gym. For me, having to deal with the stress at work, and then more or less have force myself to go to gym and then going through the motions till I achieve my target and then get the heck out of there- gave me no joy. And if I don’t go, I feel so guilty because ‘I am a lazy bad person’ and the paid membership is wasted.
But exercising in nature- it is very different – at least 2 days a week I would commit to leave the office earlier so that I can start to exercise before sunset. While exercising, the rewards is to watch the sunset (luckily I’ve discovered a place where I was able to view the beautiful sunset).
Do you know that the sun would shine more intensely like a huge orange ball before it sets. And when you wait for a while, you would first see orange, and on a hot day, purplish splash. Sometimes the sunset is very beautiful and there are many tones of yellow, orange, red and purple. As the sun sets and night comes, there is always a nice breeze. As I take my evening walks or jogs, it calmed me considerably. Sometimes when I feel I had pent-up of negative energy like being upset or angry, I would run and run….then I feel as if the negativity is gone with the wind
I leave the place feeling renewed and re-energized, ready to tackle the challenges of the next day.
The best things in life are sometimes free. It does not mean the more money we pay translate to more enjoyment and joy.
Well, the sun had just set and the drizzle had not yet stopped. I’ll sign off for now- heading out with my umbrella to have that invigorating evening walk. Have a good weekend!