5. Ditch your gym membership

My biggest, BIGGEST pet peeve? The act of driving to the gym.

Sit down for a minute and sum up all of the time you spend driving in a week – ALL of it, zipping to the corner store, commuting, shopping, EXCEPT the time it takes you to drive to the gym – and then all of the time you commit to exercising for the sake of exercising, INCLUDING the time it takes you to drive to the gym. Did you catch that? The time it takes you to drive to the gym is included with the time you’ve committed to exercising.

I need your help here, because I haven’t belonged to a gym since aerobics was the thing in high school (a few years ago… or so), and I really am curious about this. I would deeply appreciate you posting your results in the comments of this post.

Before moving to the suburbs, I walked everywhere, now the destinations within that 2 km (1 mile) range are limited. My “somewhat walkable” community scores a meagre 50 on the walkability scale, based on the proximity of its amenities.

An example of a neighbourhood's walkability according to walkscore.com

My neighbourhood is “somewhat walkable”, what’s yours?

Now that I know the neighbourhood better though, I’m shifting to cycling to expand my car-free range. With some tenacity, I should be able to shed the extra 5 lbs that have been stuck on me since moving here. (Skeptical about the health benefits of walking? The Mayo Clinic isn’t!)

So, you have calculated your weekly driving time and your weekly exercise time, now calculate the financials? How much do you spend on fuel and how much does your gym membership cost?

Here’s what I’m proposing: Take the time and money allotted to that costly gym, commit it to walking and biking more often (as well as some all-weather protective clothing). You’ll certainly save money, but you’ll also save fuel (not to mention emissions, auto maintenance, maybe even the money it costs to have that vehicle at all, if you decide to sell it!). Those are the direct outcomes, but what about the pleasures of getting to know your neighbourhood?

Quiet spot to think

Sitting in the crook of a tree, contemplating.

Remember how it was when you were a kid? You knew every back alley, every secret pathway, every fallen tree, and every quiet spot to think. You knew who was around to play, the fastest way to get to all of your friends’ houses, where to stash your contraband – What! Where did that come from????? You were the kingpin of your world. You had a sense of place.

When cycling and walking become a means of transportation, rather than a leisure activity, you embed their benefits and pleasures into the drudgery of the day-to-day, and actually make it more enjoyable.

Hot tip! Next time you are buying a house, find a real estate agent who includes walkability as a tool to help you decide on a house. Check out your walkscore!

Read more tips, that just might work, here.


Live within limits without limiting life

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About ahemmayispeak

Environmentalist Egalitarian Engineer Writer There, I finally said it. View all posts by ahemmayispeak

2 responses to “5. Ditch your gym membership

  • Louise

    Love this, Betsy. Thanks for letting me off the gym membership hook. I’m actually considering adding wrist weights to my walking regime. That way I won’t risk dropping them on my foot (cause I’m klutzy that way).

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