Funny. I was just about to start a thread on the subject of exercise, so I might as well put my observation here.
I don’t think it’s a matter of lack of time. Lots of Taiwanese have lots of free time on their hands and lots of Taiwanese excercise. Just go to any neighborhood park, any local mountain trails, any riverside bike path, and you’ll see lots of old folks, younk folks, thin folks, fat folks and fit folks, dancing, taichi-ing, cycling, hiking, clapping their hands vigorously and pounding their backs against trees. But not my wife. Which led to my realization. . . out on my bike ride by the river this morning.
When I was a kid, in america, in my family with it’s germanic roots, we were always hiking, backpacking, skiing, waterskiing, cycling, swimming, kayaking, or doing some other vigorous outdoor activity with the family and friends, then all the sports started – baseball, soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, cross-country, etc. – which lasted through college, and still when I visit the folks they’re taking regular vigorous hikes despite being almost 80.
So that’s where I come from. That’s what was etched into my consciousness since childhood, and that’s why I feel fat, lazy and guilty if I lay about for days, weeks, or months without hardly getting out, gradually getting more and more out of shape. And that’s why I finally said a few months ago I don’t give a damn how busy I am at work I HAVE to start exercising again, so I am now riding my bike at 6 am maybe 5 days a week, before work, and loving it. That’s why I know there IS no valid excuse for not exercising. If health and fitness are important to you you WILL find a way to do it. Otherwise you’ll just make excuses and continue to put it off. Which brings me back to my wife.
She didn’t grow up with any of those activities. Her parents were typical, poor, uneducated, hardworking locals who never gave a thought to exercise personally and never helped instill that consciousness in their children.
So, just as my wife didn’t grow up in culture of reading and discussion of stimulating but irrelevant academic ideas (like many of us from the West may have), so she doesn’t care much for such activities, she didn’t get the notion of exercise as a critical component of ones life drilled into every fiber of her being from childhood, so it will always be fairly foreign, unnatural and difficult for her.
It’s one thing to try to inspire some Westerner who grew up with sports and exercise, but is going through a lazy phase, to get his ass off the couch. But to inspire a person who never learned all of that is something else. One must gradually coax, coerce, beg, cajole, lead, deceive and somehow attempt to inspire them into it as if they were just a fat lazy kid sitting in front of the tube, which is basically what they are.
Anyway, that was one of my thoughts for the day. Now the hard part. Trying to help her to overcome that void in her childhood so she doesn’t become a fat old lady like her mom, which is the obvious destination unless she somehow learns something different.
No offense intended by that all. Just an observation on different cultures and upbringings.