Wednesday, July 09, 2008
The commodification of exercise
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Of course, it is possible that the gym is being a responsible business and catering for its users who want to work out but cannot cope easily with climbing stairs (people needing physio, for example). But it doesn't look as if the people on the way in are in that category. One of the triumphs of modern culture is the packaging of exercise as a consumer activity that involves clothes, a venue, and money: you are offered the chance to effectively buy, or, perhaps, more accurately, rent, fitness at a rate of so much per hour. It is a triumph, because it works. I can remember thiking how handy it was that the gym is so close to work. It took a while to spot the flaw in the thinking. In how many lifts in how many office blocks around the world is someone saying at this moment as they step in "I won't get a chance to work out today".