In Israel, as in the United States, exercise and physical fitness are very de rigueur. Everywhere you look, people of various ages can be seen walking, running, biking and working out. Sports clubs have sprouted up in every city. At the various ladies’ lunches I attended with septuagenarians and older, our conversations always involved discussions of exercise routines. Topics included when the women squeezed their routines into their hectic schedules, who was swimming where, pool conditions, the hottest trainers and staffing at the latest clubs and the newest gym locations. All were part of the dialogue interspersed with bites of delicious edibles.
What is new in Israel that I have not seen anywhere in the U.S., nor on any previous visits, is the proliferation of free exercise areas for adults. These are found almost as frequently as the children’s parks with swings and slides. As a matter of fact, the two play areas often reside in the same location. Just like the jungle gyms, the grown-up exercise equipment is colorful and very low tech. You push and pull the machinery with nary a button to start or a plug to insert. These easy-to-figure-out devices encourage the citizenry to publicly improve their health for free.
During the day, when it is hot and hotter, these machines aren’t too busy, since you’re already sweating up a storm. But in the evening, you see all ages grunting and socializing as they build their muscles and their physiques. I especially enjoyed seeing foreign caregivers and their elderly charges working out next to one another on the equipment.
This is another wonderful Israeli idea.