Mr. Khanna was his usual self, sweating profusely and running at a high speed. He had lapped almost 3 km but, was still standing in a room. These days, fitness is taking the center position in most people’s lives. It is only logical for so many gyms to spring up in every nook and corner.
However, I am not a fan of gyms. Not only it is full of people and machines, it also creates a lot of pollution. That is besides the fact that gyms are an expensive place to be. What is the point of exercising in an air conditioned environment, breathing impure air for the duration of your workout and then stepping out to breathe in even more toxic air? The amount of green house gases like carbon dioxide and heat that gym air conditioners throw out for the public to breathe in and choke on is insanely high.
Here is my solution to all the chaos that gyms come with: the greener way to staying fit, quite literally.
• A walk in the park: The best way to stay in shape is a walk in the park. The natural fresh air is far more livening than the one pelted out from an air conditioner. A close commune with Nature, even if it is for half an hour a day, works miracles to soothe the mind and remove stress. No matter how much you like working out to Zumba dancing, the chirping of birds, greenery, soft grass and the sight and sound of fellow humans (and tiny ones too) are a sure way to restore the inner peace. Brisk walking is the best way to burn calories without burning out. However, make sure that you have the right kind of walking shoes as running is a high intensity workout and may cause mechanical damage to the joints without the right kind of footwear. If the park is far from your home, cycle till there and you burn more calories as a bonus.
• Bicycle your way to fitness: Most people own bikes and cars these days and bicycles are regarded either a child’s vehicle or a lowly option of transport at least that is what it looks like in India. However, a bicycle is a great workout equipment. It makes use of almost all the body muscles and especially strengthens your leg muscles. It is also recommended for stamina and endurance building. A bicycle is relatively less expensive and you can even ask one of your friends for company.
• Trekking: If you are one of those outdoor persons, trekking is so much fun. The adventure of undulating and untamed terrains is a big kick. Most mountainous trekking trails also have a lot of flora and fauna to observe and admire. Try slowing down life a bit and soak in all that Nature has to offer. Trekking is good solo or in a large group. It is better to have like-minded people of the same age group for a trekking team. It calls for great strength and stamina and gives you a physique to die for! It is so much better than bouncing on a ball in the gym.
• Swimming: This might be a little costlier than the above given options, but it is totally worth it. Swimming is a high intensity but low impact workout. This means that it burns a boatload of calories and uses each and every muscle in the body. It is low impact because water supports our body as we float on it. This is especially helpful for people with joint aches or Arthritis. Swimming is the perfect way for muscle tone and endurance build up. A jogger only pierces through air but a swimmer has to make his way through water which is about 12 times denser than air. This makes it a high resistance exercise. Going from flabby to fit is very easy if you swim regularly and being flexible is the extra cookie. For hot summers, this exercise is ideal as it helps you cool off too. There are way too many advantages of swimming to be jotted down here.
• Yoga: All you need is a yoga mat, access to some space (preferably open space) and you are all set. Yoga is world known for its therapeutic properties and when practiced daily, helps you thin down and stay fit too. Most of the positions or Asanas have been designed in such a way that they even help deep rooted internal ailments too. Yoga has health benefits for one and all and helps a lot for patients of asthma or cardiovascular diseases who cannot indulge in high intensity workouts.
• Domestic workouts: The small things at home matter quite a lot. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Do the sweeping and mopping. Squatting while mopping the floor is a great exercise for toning lower body muscles. Stretching up and out while cleaning cobwebs, spending hours at the garden, dancing etc. are all hidden exercises.
Working out in the open is one of the best ways to stay fit without harming the environment and your pocket at the same time. If at all you have to go to a gym, make sure it runs on cleaner energy like solar panels, uses natural fibers instead of rubber mats, etc. Go on, stay fit, the healthier way.