Welcome to this travel blog which is inspired by the wandering clouds effortlessly gliding through distant lands. Sometimes almost still as if watching the beauty of the earth below and at times rushing to some place far away – as if on an endless travel mission. This is where I share my observations, experiences and thoughts gathered during my travels

Monday, June 20, 2011

Runners, runners, everywhere...

What is common between Senegal and Japan? I would say, the sight of ordinary people (and perhaps also some professional athletes), running on the streets and main roads, at anytime of the day! Young and old, men and women, in groups or as singles and really at any time of the day! In many countries, the cheapest and the most common form of exercise is running, especially long distance running because it helps to build stamina and endurance. Ordinary people running for physical fitness in large numbers creates a unique fitness culture and I often wonder what constitutes the “fitness culture” of my city?

A few years ago, I was visiting Dakar, Senegal and one of the sights that amazed me was that of runners under the hot afternoon sun with their glistening muscular bodies and long legs effortlessly running in almost a rhythmic fashion. A couple of my friends also decided to go running around Dakar in the morning and I really regretted not carrying my running shoes and a pair of track-pants. Then later the following year when I was visiting Tsukuba, Japan, the emphasis given to physical fitness by ordinary people of all ages was like an eye-opener. At any time of the day, the streets and parks have runners, of all ages, with ear phones on, doing their regular rounds. This time in Tsukuba, I had carried my shoes and was therefore able to immerse myself in the “fitness culture” of the place.

Every place has its own specific “fitness culture”. If one wants to understand and experience the place as a traveler (and not just as a tourist), slipping into the local “fitness culture” offers unique sights as well as insights. Burning of calories is an incidental bargain.  

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