People have always needed to keep fit and healthy, and that is true of 25 years ago and today as well. Keeping fit is a matter of a good diet and a good exercise plan. So how did people keep fit and healthy 25 years ago?
First of all people used to fry their fish and other foods with lard, yes, lard. Lard is another word for shortening, and if you still do not know what that is, it is pig fat. Some people also used coconut oil to do all their cooking. Now, even though we know that that is not very healthy, people lived healthy lives and one never heard of people sick with cholesterol and all of that. Do you wonder why?
The answer is simple. People used to burn up all these fats and calories by the type of work they were involved in. Take for example a lobster skin diver. He got into the sea at six in the morning and swam along the reef dragging a dory behind him for five hours. Then it was time to come to the boat for a brief lunch of pig tail, corned beef, or some fish with rice every day. In the afternoon the swimming continued for another four to five hours. By the end of the day, don’t you agree that all the calories had been burnt up? So fishermen had strong, healthy, and fit bodies. You rarely found a fisherman with a big belly. If you found one, it was a beer belly.
Other occupations on the island included bush chopping. Tell me about burning calories in that activity. Or another occupation was collecting and husking coconuts for harvesting. After peeling or husking 2000 coconuts, you can be sure that was more exercise than the body ever needed. Or it could have been paddling your dory to your fishing grounds, or using the pole to take your boat along. Mending fishing pats, building fish traps, repairing nets, or casting nets in the sea all day long were as strenuous and exercising as the above. The result was a strong, healthy, and fit young man who did not need more exercise at the end of the day. So no wonder people back then lived to see 80 and 90 years of age with only an occasional visit to the doctor.
So when did gym exercising come to the island. As I can recall it was Fidel Ancona, who opened the doors to the first gym in San Pedro back in the 1980’s. It was called “San Pedro’s Fitness Club”. That gym operated for several years attracting both men and women who felt the need for this discipline to remain healthy and fit. The gym was eventually sold to Oscar Lara, who operated Oscar’s Gym for many years until the business was sold to the present owner who still provides this excellent and vital service to San Pedro’s residents and visitors alike.
The point today is, “Do we need to exercise today or are we okay as we were 25 years ago?” Certainly we do need to exercise because of the nature of many jobs and occupations. People who sit behind a desk in whatever job they perform do not get the necessary exercise to burn up the excess calories they consume. And if they are not careful eaters, or people who follow a strict healthy diet, the calories quickly add up and the extra fat accumulates at all those places where we do not want them. The answer to this dilemma is “Get some gym workout!”
And just in case this is beginning to sound like an Oscar’s Gym commercial, well yes it is. They have an excellent health and fitness program, which they also make available free to the high school students. They have also contributed a lot of equipment to the school just in the spirit of healthy and well disciplined youths. So to the gym, Twenty Five Years Ago says, “Keep up the good work” and to San Pedro we say, “Keep exercising and live a little longer”, not to mention the good looks.