In Hanoi you have to plan exercisePosted: July 2, 2012
I’ve been lucky so far that an emergency editing job has meant I’m solvent for another month while I continue to look for new employment.
But I’ve also taken the chance to get down the gym having bought a short-term membership. What’s surprised me so far, despite the swanky youngness of the place, is just how many of the members are old.
I’ve never even been approaching fit. At best I played a game of five-a-side a week which just about stopped me getting out of breath on stairs. I played for a while in Hanoi but it got a bit shoutey and the dehydration would last for days.
In Vietnam you have to plan for exercise otherwise the long hot summer sees your belly grow as your legs whither from under use. I use my motorbike for even the shortest trip or I arrive soaked. Exercise has to be scheduled as a separate activity. The rest of the time you’re aiming to minimise movement to minimise sweating.
The oldies here have long worked that out. Perhaps as the city gets warmer and busier they’ve no longer the desire to do their stretches around the lake in the morning. Perhaps they’re just getting richer and now have other options.
While a few of them take to the treadmill with fear in their eyes, baby-stepping and clinging on for dear life, the rest could comfortably out cross-train me.
They’re a contrast to the gym’s other biggest group – mirror loving young Vietnamese males. Their eyes never leave their reflection.