French people have a certain image. When you think of France, you think of smoking, drinking wine, eating delicious food, and sitting around in cafes. None of those things include fitness, as French gyms are finding out. People in France want to be fit, but don’t want to exercise, and that’s proving to be a serious problem. France has the lowest gym membership and attendance rates in Europe, with only 5.4 percent of French people attending gyms and working out.
“It appears to me that more people are sitting in cafes smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee than working out … the French don’t see fitness as a lifestyle,” says fitness consultant Fred Hoffman, an American who has lived in France for 21 years. Instead, the French favor outdoor activities like football, cycling, and tennis to actual, organized fitness. While France has many fitness associations, most of those are just equipment in spare rooms designed to bring in money from the government and are less equipped to train people for a fitness lifestyle, with proper techniques and good eating habits.
It’s just not French to sweat and work out. That’s why they have a national health care system, after all! Eat, drink, be merry, and let your health be tended to by the government.
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