Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lazy people buy exercise bikes

Ok, that's a cheap generalisation.

My new housemate, also an actual mate, brought in his belnogings across from Doncaster to Richmond last week, and bought a new exercise bike along the way. I was horrified.

Why, having just moved from the car dependent Doncaster to the sweet streets of Richmond, would you choose to get a goddamn exercise bike when there's so much just out the door, bike paths, the Tan track and more.

He is a good mate so I'll stop being an arse and criticising him; to his credit he did go for a run around the Tan the other day and I haven't actually seen the wretched thing anywhere since... (?). Anyway, his purchase was just the pretext for this post.

I've just seen plenty of those things bought with good intentions only to gather dust. My brother had an exercise bike one when we both still lived at Mum and Dad's, occasionally used by each of us after purchase but not touched in years.

After he left the country, I would have brought it here if I'd been able to fit it in the car. With the time and effort I put into thinking about transporting it I could have run a few kilometres. I have no doubt it wouldn't have gotten much use. If I can't step out the door and go for an easy run or ride around interesting streets, along the yarra or around the scenic Tan (for free!!), why would I jump on a bike to nowhere in my house? Because it's 'convenient'? Because I can watch TV while doing it? I think those are the selling points...

For me personally, TV watching is time to relax and going for a run or a ride is time for switching off my mind as much as exercising my body - although it took a while to get to that attitude/appreciation where I actually found a way to enjoy any exercise that didn't involve chasing a ball around.

The evidence of the futility of home gym equipment is probably in the way it's marketed - on late night and mid-morning weekday TV shooting for people in bad habits with good intentions through a quick fix. Another cheap generalisation. But there a sense of achievement from buying one of these things without actually doing anything - when you could have spent the time the adfomercial lasted doing some sit ups or jogging around the block - and then you can celebrate with a bag of chips.

Then there's the sales people on treadmills in shopping centres. I just look at them and say (ok, 'think') 'Hey look, we're both walking - except I'm actually going somewhere'. Seriously, how do they make sales to people doing for free what they're trying to sell?

I'm no fitness fanatic and could definitely stand to lose a few kilo's right now (I'm tryyyyyinnngggg). With a new job four kilometres from home I have actually dusted off the bike and put the leg over for the first time in three years (but yes, it took a few weeks) and I'm loving it. The only thing I miss about driving is not being able to start the day by exeercising the lungs with a good singalong in the car. I don't miss anything about the crowded 70 tram.

So I think home gym equipment (exercise bikes and treadmills anyway) are bullshit that make people feel superficially good before they've actually done anything - and I personally just prefer getting outside among people and the world anyway.

As I said, a generalisation, but ... is that because its generally true?

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