Our generation has no shortage of contradictions; events that defy logic and common sense. Such contradictions haunt us from the rising of the sun to its going down.
One simple contradiction is men and women seeking to lose weight when malnutrition and hunger are so common.
This is a clear indicator that the scarcity much hyped by economists could be a myth – distribution might be the bigger problem.
This contradiction is underlined by the increasing number of gyms in Nairobi and other small towns. High-end hotels and members’ clubs quickly caught on to the obsession with health, weight and appearances.
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Entrepreneurs should be given maximum respect – they quickly realised there isn’t a critical number of people willing to lose weight at a fee, so they hatched an ingenious plan to attract more customers: combining exercise or fitness with music.
Even the music was ingeniously named – rhumba and zumba. I am told the latter is faster. The use of music in fitness could have been borrowed from the military, which uses it when marching. Losing weight or keeping fit is now fun; you ride on the universal language of music.
In gyms, groups of mostly women with (mostly) male trainers gyrate to the rhythm of rhumba or zumba music.
The session usually takes an hour, but occasional marathons takes two to three hours. I’m told women dominate such sessions because men have “nothing to shake” as they dance.
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This obsession with fitness cuts across social-economic classes and is big business. From hustlers to ‘sonkos’, fitness and body shape are assets. The search for fitness is catalysed by the media, which glorifies youth.
Entrepreneurs have also taken advantage of the shortage of open space to sell fitness through gyms and our love for music. In other countries, public parks are standard, and even crowded ghettos like Harlem in New York have parks and open spaces where one can jog or take a walk. It’s strange that a country that boasts so many gold medals in athletics pays so little attention to sporting facilities.
All the high-rise buildings mean more people are crammed into smaller spaces. Zoo animals show stress because they lose their freedom.
Are we also showing stress because of spending too much time in our ‘zoos’, from apartments to cars?
Rhumba and zumba are not enough; we need more open spaces and less human zoos. The resulting stress from a lack of ‘ventilation’ leads to lower productivity and an unhappy nation.
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But I fear even fitness is becoming unaffordable to hustlers. How many can afford to pay to dance to rhumba and zumba? Don’t say walking to work or doing household chores is enough.
Have you danced to the rhythm of rhumba or zumba at a gym? Share your experience with us.
[XN Iraki; [email protected]; Twitter: @Hustlenomics7]?