Who Needs a Gym Membership Anyway?

Questioning the need for a costly gym membership is easy while roaming the mountains of Spain. It’s considerably harder living in urban Sweden, where the climate and our relatively busy lives motivates such expenses. Emmie, for one, hangs on to her ridiculously pricy membership at the luxurious facilities of Hagabadet for dear life. At least for now. Gym memberships may well be one of the costs that we’ll decide to eliminate in our quest towards a minimalist economy, allowing us to make the move to Andalusia sooner rather than later.

The thing about Gaucín and its vicinity, is that you’ll get quite fit whether you like it or not. Streets are narrow, winding and steep, making everyday errands like shopping for food into a rather decent work out. Should you head for the great outdoors, you’re – needless to say – even more likely to get as much as, or probably more, than you can handle. While walking or hiking in rough terrain is more than enough to gain and keep endurance,  lower body strength and core stability, it can be nice to include a little something for the upper body. We believe that it’s a good idea to build muscle mass and improve mobility in every part of the body, in order to keep your balance and stay clear of injuries. Yoga is an excellent way of doing this. One obvious path towards a minimalist routine, would be to take some yoga classes until reaching a level where you can practice yoga by yourself anywhere, at any time. None of us have reached such a level just yet, and therefore we need to squeeze in some easy and efficient exercises in between battleing the mountains of Spain.

Emmie by the pool, in an attempt at One Legged Downward Dog Pose.

Unfortunately, one go-to excercise would be push-ups, working wonders for your core, chest, shoulders and triceps. We say unfortunately, since Emmie really detests doing them. She finds it quite hard to get the technique right and tends to mess up her fussy neck, every now and then resulting in torticollis. Nevertheless, she recognises the advantages of push-ups and has made it something of a life ambition to master them. One of her favourite routines is alternating between lunges and push-ups, doing as many lunges she can muster in one go and then doing ten or fifteen push-ups before getting back to the lunges. This is an excellent routine to do on the beach, for those such inclined.

However great push-ups can be, they still don’t do much for your upper back. Your lower back can easily get what it needs from doing back extensions, lying face down and lifting your upper body. Especially Kristoffer, who’s an enthusiastic rock climber and therefore eager to keep his upper back strength, has been looking for a way to facilitate this. Countless are the times he’s been rambling on about where to put a pull-up bar and how great it would be to have one some place with a spectacular view. Evidently, one of his soulmates work at Ayuntamiento de Gaucín and have been kind enough to make this come true since last time we were here. The village now boasts an excellent djungle gym, complete with pull-up bars, horisontal ladders, olympic rings and more.

Kristoffer apa.jpg
Kristoffer, overjoyed to get some monkeying out of his system. Doing monkey laps in the jungle gym is an excellent way of giving your entire upper body a good beating.

In conclusion, gym memberships seem to be dispensable on our parts – but may well be necessary for someone who’s in need of more guidance or wishes to bulk up using heavy weights and machines. Whether we ourselves will experience this need, remains to be further explored. Therefore, it’s good news that a gym, that we certainly plan on visiting, recently opened in Gaucín.



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