A short story about the gym and the environmental visitor

On a warm and sunny day after work, I saw a man arrive in the car park of my local gym in his two litre Ford.  I watched him carefully park as close as possible to enterance and make his way to the changing rooms.  Inside the gym I saw him get on one of the treadmills.  He started running at a fair pace, without any particular programme or hills set-up.  He ran for nearly one hour and then got off and went straight back to the changing rooms.  He didn’t use any of the equipment, the weights or anything else.  He didn’t meet anyone there or socialise at all.  It got me thinking, this man drove to the gym, basically just ran and it was a nice day.  Surely it would make more sense to actually run outside, after all this time of the year it light until after nine o’clock.  Its warm, but in the evening it is not too hot and in fact it is probably more unpleasant in the gym, than being outside.  Sounds pretty stupid doesn’t it.  Wasting fuel to go to the gym, running in a worse environment, not using equipment and basically doing something which could have been done outside.

That man was me.  I think I keep going to the gym, instead of running outside purely because it is a habit.  For some reason, it is easier to drive to the gym and run on a machine for an hour, than running along roads or even in the park.  There’s somewhere to put my water and after all, I’ve paid to go.  The government recently ran a campaign asking everyone to review the miles they drive each week and try to reduce this by a few miles, maybe even one mile per week.  It’s about seven miles from home to the gym, but if I go straight from work, it is probably only one or two mile detour.  Still, during my last visit to the gym, I counted eight similar people.  I wonder how many miles not going to the gym might have saved?