We have spoken before about the French Paradox and how surprisingly, the levels of obesity among the French people are lowest in the developed world. And what is also surprising is how averse to the gym culture the French are. Going to the Gym is still seen as something of a niche activity rather than a mainstream activity among the French.
There are several reasons behind this – one of the facts is that France has a very benevolent health care system. Secondly the French have a preference for outdoor sport, over working out indoors at a gym.
Also there aren’t as many high quality affordable gyms around, which is why, as on 2008, only a little of 5 per cent of the French populace were members of a gym or health club.
On the other hand, there are community fitness groups and associations that are affordable and popular; also since they are entitled to government subsidies, they are very affordable.
It is outdoor sport that the French really enjoy, with tennis, football (soccer) and cycling being the top, most popular sports in the country.
Working out and sweating it is also an image issue for the fashion conscious French, who have few celebs who would be willing to be seen straining and sweating on a cardio machine!