Gyms, Jim Jee Bang’s, health and fitness in Korea - 70
Many people choose to spend time in ‘Jim Jee Bang’s, where they can relax, enjoy the saunas, sleep, eat and read. As a foreigner, it is very difficult to spot the buildings which house Jim Jee Bangs, but they are nonetheless plentiful and can be found throughout Seoul. Visiting gyms, health clubs and local swimming pools are also popular ways to keep fit in Seoul. Just like many other aspects of Korean culture, gyms in Korea are different in some ways to Western Countries.
The U.S. chains such as Bally Fitness and Nautilus do exist in Korea, but the majority of gyms are small and privately owned. What may surprise a Westerner on first entering one of these gyms, is the fact that everyone in the gym is very often dressed the same, almost as though one is in the army. There is a very good reason though, for this conformity. You do not need to take anything to the gym (except deodorant if you are a Westerner) because many gyms supply you with a pair shorts, t-shirt and towel.
The convenience in Korea of being able to be anywhere and at any point deciding to go to the gym, is a simple idea yet incredibly convenient. I can handle conforming, looking and dressing like everyone else if it means I do not have any extra laundry to do after going to a gym. The reason I say incidentally, that Westerner’s may need to take deodorant is because Koreans seem not to use and need deodorant to the extent that Westerners do. Koreans generally tend to have far less body hair than Westerner’s and thus it is much harder to find a shop, which sells deodorant compared to in the West.