Meaning of Gym Membership in Our Lives

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Referring to the article by Tan Yi Liang from The Star Online, titled Improving Lives Through Exercise, dated 2 April 2019, I strongly agree that we should adopt developmental sports as a learning challenge to help young people enhance their quality of life and cognitive functions. For many, exercise is a luxury or privilege – something that we decide whether or not we give our time, money, or energy to when it suits us. Often, we conclude we can't afford it. This is due to the fact that the high-priced fee structure at the gym itself is keeping us from fully embracing the beauty, joy, and indispensable utility of exercise.

Think about what happens if the WiFi goes down. You will stop whatever you are doing and start unplugging routers, call the Internet service provider and demand immediate resolution, citing your monthly bill as a reason why you should experience uninterrupted service at all times. Anything less than this is at best a breach of contract, and at worst, an assault on your personal dignity. This is the attitude of someone who believes they are entitled to a service that is vital to their day to day business functions, entertainment, social engagement, and overall sense of well-being and connection to the world at large.

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However, most people do not treat their gym membership this way. On the sporadic occasion when we can afford to exercise, it becomes a priority because we believe we will be better people when we are in possession of a gym membership and relish the elevated social status that comes with having a gym membership.

Are you so thoroughly conditioned to believe that exercises should be tedious, boring, difficult, and painful that you cannot fathom a reality in which torturing yourself to be healthy is not necessary? When we work, play, care for ourselves and others, this is self-expression. Every time we choose how to spend our time, money and energy, we are declaring how we want to show up in the world.

You don’t have to be anyone you don’t want to be. If you hate going to the gym, don’t try to force yourself to like it. Stop assigning morality to exercise choices. All those people that you want to emulate by “getting in shape” are not better than you. They just make different choices about how they express themselves - through movement.

The best reasons to exercise are the ones that condition our bodies, minds, and spirits for the ups and downs of life - mental toughness, core strength, resilience, goal setting, being part of a community, flexibility, and so much more. You should center your exercise goals around what you value, and then find a method that helps you do that.

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