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Hit the gym

I got to the gym tonight for the first time in... um, months. Didn't do anything serious: 15 minutes of stationary bike and 15 minutes walking on a treadmill. But just getting there was a serious enough development. I'm hoping to make this a habit again. I figure, as long as I start going one more time than I stop, that's a good thing.

The only drawback was, the treadmills are right in front of a TV set that was tuned to American Idol. Ewwwwg.

In the locker room afterward, I overheard two guys talking about going into the sauna. One asked the other if he was wearing his shoes in there, and the other one said he would. Now, I'm not exactly the Finnish ambassador to the U.S., but I have a little experience with the sauna. I had never heard of wearing shoes into a sauna before. I almost spoke up, but didn't. In the defense of one of the guys, he was in a wheelchair, so maybe he has an excuse for saving himself the effort.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
hellmutt
Mar. 2nd, 2006 09:53 am (UTC)
A couple of Finns told us a bit about this, in the context of swapping funny sauna stories with English people who'd visited and been baffled by the customs. I'm pretty sure there'd be no shoes barring practical reasons otherwise. Whole families in Finland wander in and out of them naked. Home ones are mixed-sex; at sports places and so on, there may be a women's and a men's sauna.

Nice and unembarrassed and all, but I wouldn't... I mean, it's a bit too "cultural" for me. :D
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)
Up north, where sauna is a bigger deal than you might expect in America, I've never been in a mixed-gender sauna, but I'm sure families do it that way. The clothing is minimal (towel around the middle, at most) in the saunas where I've been up there. But people in gyms down here have odd ideas about appropriate attire in saunas. I think those guys at the gym think a sauna is for loosening up stiff muscles. That might happen, but I don't think that's the main point.

I don't want to think of how grungy the shoes would get from regular exposure to saunas (where feet would sweat more than usual, combining with existing foot sweat... I'm making myself a little queasy...).
hellmutt
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
I get the impression it's a fairly usual part of the bathing/getting-clean routine in Finland.

In the UK it's more like how you describe US ones to be. We don't do the naked thing very readily. Towel would be de rigeur, but if any shoes, I think you'd normally use flipflops. (There is a concern about verrucas because most times you'd only see saunas in gyms or leisure centres.)

Also, good point. Sneakersweat!
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
*nods* My friends up north take the kids into the sauna on Sunday nights for their bathtime (though they get regular baths at other times as needed too).

Flipflops would be good in more public saunas, to be sure. Never know what you could catch.
jjfmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
Actually, having "Idol" on near a treadmill might not be a bad thing - if you have it BEHIND the treadmill. Good incentive to run...

As far as the guy with the shoes in the sauna, I'd be more curious as to the cumulative effect of all that steam on shoe leather. Perhaps his shoes were a little loose...?
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
Remember when shoes had little metal bits, like the eyelets for the laces? Maybe some shoes still do... that would not be good in a sauna, not at all.

Usually I'm closer to the other TV, which plays music videos of modern rock music. So at least I don't have to see Simon Cowell on that one. Almost makes me want to get an iPod with video capability. (Then I look at my bank account and remember that I like to eat. But that's a different issue.)
hellmutt
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
As an Eeenglish I feel I must apologise unreservedly on behalf of my nation for Simon Cowell. If it makes you feel any better, our version (or one of them - there are about five clones!) also features Sharon Osbourne, wife of Ozzy.
hellmutt
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
Clones of the programme, I mean, not of Cowell (though as soon as they hit upon a method to do that, we'll have even MORE Pop Idol knockoffs to torment us...)
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
Oh please, no clones of Cowell... that would be worth some violent industrial sabotage to prevent such an abomination.
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC)
No worries. We've certainly exported enough of our own nonsense and inflicted it on you and the rest of the world.

I was wondering what Sharon Osbourne was doing lately, since "The Osbournes" ended production.
nergye
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
Metal (the material, not the music) is not good in sauna. I was warned explicity in Finland to remove any jewellery.

It hadn't really occured to me that you meant other shoes than flipflops. That'd be horrible, surely, wearing proper shoes in a sauna?
songdogmi
Mar. 2nd, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
Sadly, there are people who Just Don't Know, very many of them in fact. Flipflops, I could see. Especially as the entire lockerroom area is tiled and very slippery when wet.

Seems to me wearing shoes and clothes in a sauna is missing the point, which is to open pores and sweat a lot. (Not to discount any social aspect of it, of course.) Anything that would constrict, like shoelaces or elastic waistbands, would be distinctly unwanted.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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