Being a bit of a grammar and composition rules zealot, I hesitated to use quotation marks in the title, but it seems appropriate for the topic. I expect the phrase was initially invented to express the action of problem solving. Why did it have to become attached to physical activity intended to improve health? The term just makes exercise less attractive – more like work. I tried researching the origins of using the phrase with regard to exercise and came up empty. Working out supports mental health – Sure! Working out improves physical health – Certainly! Everyone should regularly work out – Absolutely!
I suspect everyone would rather participate in a fun and active event, rather than “work out.” I have had countless YMCA and health club memberships and rarely used them. My preference is to select an activity that doesn’t have the sole purpose of raising my heart rate for a specified period of time. I get bored and have little patience for it, but I do it for the known results. My current equipment choice is a NordicTrak. I bought it about 10 years ago from a friend who was using it as a clothes rack.
I learned yoga a few years back and found I genuinely liked it. It reminded me of gymastics class at the YMCA, where my friend and our sisters dressed in identical purple leotards and tights. We called ourselves the “Purple People Eaters.” It was the 1970s, so consider the era.
I realize I have a less than positive attitude about the whole thing and there are plenty of people that get really pumped up about an intense workout. I admit, I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I get off that NordicTrak. I *think* I am beginning to see increased muscle definition in my upper arms, so I’ll keep on “working out.”
Update January 2012!