Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ready for the beach?

On a Friday night, to relieve the mental stresses and strains of a hard week's accounting, I like to visit the gym. Nothing too taxing - a couple of miles on the treadmill (broke my record this week), a few weights and then into the sauna and hydro-pool. I go to one in the seaside town of Estepona.

What was remarkable this week was the complete lack of punters - no problem finding a parking space, no tripping over other mens' towels in the changing rooms and no fighting for a turn on the chest press. I was very surprised because since January the place has been a madhouse on Friday nights. I think the New Year's resolution syndrome operates pretty much the same in Spain as I remember it did in London.
Could the sudden drop-off in gym attendance be another sign of the belated arrival of Summer proper? Already the weather is "scorchio" every day, tourist numbers are building up, the kids are demanding ice-creams seemingly every hour and the dog is being left fuming at home not understanding that it's too hot to go everywhere in the car with me.

I guess it's true and people are deserting the gym for outside pleasures. The lure of the beachbars (chiringuitos) is too much and all the New Year's resolutions go out of the window. It's a mainly Spanish sports club so I wonder if gyms in Spain have their own cycle: Peak attendance in January, fat and bloated after the holidays. Lots of hard work in the Spring getting ready for Summer and those unforgiving bikinis and swimming shorts. A quiet Summer on the treadmills drifts into Autumn as people try and get the most out of what's left of longer evenings and sitting outside. A quiet end to the year too as party season kicks in. And repeat.

Call me a creature of habit but I like to keep a mediocre level of fitness and a similar exercise regime all year round, perhaps with a bit more swimming thrown in during the Summer and a bit less running up and down on the football pitch.

PS Let's hope Spain's beach bars and other seasonal businesses have a better year than last year - the Spanish economy certainly needs it. Actually the signs are not particularly good so far with the volcanic ash crisis contributing to a fall of 11% in Spain's tourist spending (by foreigners) during April. See article.

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