"the gym: yay or nay?"

Monday, July 04, 2011

There have always been that debate between the gym-goers and the outdoors sportsters.
I personally prefer going to the gym myself, but then again I also kinda agree with exercising outdoors. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference.

What if you want to start a regular exercising regime and you don't know if you should sign up for a gym or just use the local parks? Let me break down a few things for you before you make that decision, yea?

When it comes to safety, I would say that it really depends on the location. Gyms are mostly safe-zones, you only need to worry about the safety of their car parks - there are enough movies & CSI episodes involving a car park victim - so pick a gym with a well-guarded, brightly lit car park. Outdoor places are usually safe in a park where there are a lot of people (and other joggers) or within a gated community area. Never, ever go for jogs near secluded spots or by busy roads. You don't need me to tell you why. Also, I need to point out that in Malaysia where crime is everywhere, it's always a big risk for women especially, to be jogging about on their own.

Unless you live in a country where you get really great weather, I would prefer the gym over being outside where in Malaysia, it's forever summer and always hot. Not to mention those monsoon seasons where the rain pelts down mercilessly and the heat from the ground rises up. The gym definitely wins this hands down in this factor because your performance isn't affected come rain or shine.

Working out in the rain, not exactly my kinda thing.

I think that gyms are one of the most unhygienic places because everyone works out in the same area, breathing in the same air that has been circulating around over & over again. And sometimes, you have people who don't practice proper personal hygiene adding their body odor to the air, further degrading its quality. Whereas outside, you get fresh clean air (unless you live in the city or in a really polluted zone) and especially in the mornings, fresh air is essentially healthier for you. Also, despite gyms having their own shower rooms, I still prefer showering at home because I really hate the fact that I need to wear slippers into the gym showers, that shows just how possibly dirty the floors are. UGH.

This factor really depends on where you live. For me, I find the gym more convenient as it is practically one minute's drive away from my home, where parking is easy (and free for the first 2 hours). However, if you live near a park, then it should be way more convenient for you because you wouldn't even need to drive or carry a gym bag. Personally, if I lived near a community park, I would definitely prefer the park.

In most gyms these days, you don't just get expensive workout equipments to utilize, you get to join classes too - yoga, TRX, body combat. pilates - you name it. I think this is a really great thing because then you won't get bored with just the routine workout. In fact, you get to make new friends too and possibly gather a few tips from around. Whereas outdoors, there isn't much you can do other than to jog or stretch. Let's face it, even the provided equipments in community parks are very 'under-qualified'. So in this light, I really think a gym has a lot more to offer.

Indefinitely, the gym would cost waaay more than the great outdoors because Mother Nature doesn't charge a cent for natural surroundings. The only price impact on going outdoors would be your running shoes. Running on roads is much harsher compared to going on the treadmill, so you would definitely need to make up for the wear & tear on your shoes and replace them every few months.

This is a scene from an old gym show. Some people workout better with buddies in tow.

Okay so not everyone can afford the gym. That would mean that not all of your friends could join you for a workout. This depends on how dependent you are on a workout buddy. I personally prefer working out alone (because gossiping is something I'm way better at doing and you can't workout & gossip at the same time) but some people require motivation from their buddies to kickstart their workout regime. This is based purely on your own preference.

Apart from the professional equipment provided, it's the facilities like lockers, washrooms, water dispensers, and rest areas that I love about gyms. Compared to the outdoors, what if you get a nature call but you're miles away from the restroom? Or what if you run out of water halfway through your run? Or if you get muscle cramps? In a gym, you don't have to worry about all that at all. Another thing I love about my gym is that I can workout on the machine while catching American Idol or episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

I guess that sums up some of the factors that have been debated about. Obviously I prefer the gym over being outdoors but that is mostly due to safety, facility & comfort issues. The rest is up to you to put together and decide what you'd prefer. You really won't need a gym if you already have a great park near you. You can always ride a bicycle, play badminton with friends or even soccer - and that's considered a form of workout.

Do what suits you & your lifestyle best.


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  1. hey mish.where exactly is the gym near your hse? :)

  2. It's the one in Centro, Chi Fitness. :)


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