As if the average person needed any more excuses not to exercise, the London freebie paper ‘The Metro’ has chipped in with yet another excuse not to bother training, with its article about ‘Gym Rage’.
Apparently if you’re already a bit wound up before your workout then going to the gym may not only make you feel worse, but it could even be enough to add you to the “growing number of gym rage incidents”. The article quotes a few rather horrendous acts of violence whilst to emphasise the now apparently violent nature of our gyms, a photo of a woman in her gym kit performing a martial arts style high kick is also shown! Closer inspection however, reveals little to worry about.
The thrust of the article comes from some quotes attributed to one NHS Psychologist who suggests that the long held belief that using exercise as a way to let off steam will eventually come full circle and that you will end up “wind[ing] up the body again”. Rather than go into detail on this concept, let us adjust slightly an Aristotle quote to somewhat ironically emphasise our point: ‘One NHS Psychologist does not a body of research make’.
The article goes on to say that “Personal Trainers are reporting a growing number of gym rage incidents”. Are they? If there are, then there are certainly no quoted stats to back this up, whilst only one Personal Trainer is actually named as having seen one specific example of gym rage. Three other incidents which presumably have resulted in legal action are also mentioned, two of which were four or more years ago, whilst just one member of the public is quoted and that is because she was “fuming” when another person interrupted her Personal Trainer during their session. Her response? She was “extremely curt” with the other lady afterwards. Understandable, yes, but hardly an example of gym rage!
Our NHS Psychologist goes on to explain that the answer is to strike a better balance between activities, which effectively means to switch from something that hypes you up to something that is more relaxing. She helpfully points us in the direction of swimming. Relaxing? If you’re a poor swimmer it can be anything but, although at least if you do manage to splash your way to the side of the pool you won’t have the strength to strangle the lifeguard afterwards.
The serious point here is that different people experience their stress from different sources, and the overwhelming majority of the populous will be no more inclined to try and beat somebody else up at the gym than they will in any other place. You might pull a muscle or drop a weight on your foot, but your chances of getting ‘duffed up’ at the gym are close to zero.
Gym rage? Given The Metro’s ‘evidence’, we think not…