In these crazy days we are left contemplating and appreciating the things we miss most. Often it’s the things we took for granted because they were always there. I know many of us miss the diversions we had from the monotony and stress of daily life. Whether it was parties & happy hours with friends, concerts & shows, or sports! For so many of us sports provided that necessary escape plus a great topic of conversation for friends and strangers alike. Those discussions about various topics are part of what I miss about the gym.
I know many people miss the gym, but I wonder if they realize why? Prior to “shelter in place” I had spent about 50 hours a week in the gym for the last 21 years due to my profession plus many more training as an athlete. Needless to say, it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. To sum it up best, what I’ve realized is the gym is far more than a physical location or a place that holds workout equipment.
The gym is a living, breathing entity that exudes a mood, rhythm, and spirit. It has the unique ability to break down social barriers that keep people apart outside. When you walk through those doors things like what you do for a living, the size of your bank account, your age & ethnicity, and (at most gyms) even your gender is forgotten. The most dedicated view fitness as their passion or even religion and the gym as their sacred house of worship. You’ll generally find these people to be friendly and helpful to new people and anyone that shows some respect for the facility and follows basic protocol.
The greatest personality trait of the gym is its ability to inspire. For many just walking through the doors provides a boost of energy and momentum. Obviously the other patrons provide motivation but do so a variety of ways. The majority of us see people that are both more and less fit than ourselves and there is no doubt that both can provide inspiration. The people we admire obviously give us an aesthetic goal, but also can inspire by example with their consistency, work ethic, and intensity. Patrons on the other side of the equation can provide even greater motivation through either a fear of not wanting to be in their shoes, or through empathy of remembering that was once you. Seeing a person’s determination to struggle & fight to make a change in themselves can be powerfully motivating. As an older person I find great inspiration from seeing people in my peer group working hard and getting great results.
During this unprecedented time we are all learning how much we are missing the little everyday things we had taken for granted. There is no doubt that for many of us our physical and mental health will suffer until the gyms are able to reopen. When that great day finally arrives I think we will all have a renewed appreciation for these special places and the people that inhabit them.