Small Streams

Are We Doomed?
December 16, 2007, 11:38 am
Filed under: health | Tags: , ,

I felt a disturbance in the force  as I read  this article  in the Post-Gazette about the creation of a second Downtown YMCA location. The Y is a venerable institution that  began as a way of making Christians healthy or healthy people Christians. It’s suffered from its downmarket image, and maybe drawn a few snickers due to the Village People song (for the even more snide, check out LWIII’s “The Hardy Boys at the Y”). That our local Ys are renovating and expanding sounds good to me. Muscular Christianity and even Muscular Secularism can make us all look and feel better, but . . .

Given the concentrated population, it “makes sense” to add the location, [John Cardone, executive director of the Downtown YMCA] said. The Y has found that people generally won’t walk more than three blocks to an exercise program.

When I read that I realized why the article made me antsy. You don’t have to walk three blocks to get to exercise, walking is the exercise. Walk an extra 20 blocks a day and you can save yourself a trip to the Y. Now my mind is filled with the image of someone at the Y walking on an electrically powered treadmill and watching CNN under fluorescent lights when they could be taking a walk to the Strip District or the Eliza Furnace trail.

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Agreed! Gym culture has always made me uncomfortable. I ride my bike home from work. It takes me about 55 minutes, and I do it three times a day. If I take the bus, it takes 35 minutes. If I drive, it takes 25 minutes. I do it about three times a week, and by taking that extra 20 minutes, I save myself:
* the time of driving to and from the gym
* the cost of a gym membership
* the cost of busfare
* the fuel used by the bus.
* the guilt of wasting money on a gym membership I don’t use as much as I feel I should.

and I gain:
* meditation time
* fresh air
* the chance to meet my neighbors on my way home
* the satisfaction that my exercise actually did something practical

For the extra 10 more minutes of not driving I save:
* even more fuel
* the stress, irritation, and anger of driving in traffic
* the hassles of parking
* the *cost* of parking
* the cost of wear and tear on my vehicle (I do still own and drive a car, for now)

Comment by Cliff

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