Women & Working Out

Aditi Chakraborty
3 min readDec 28, 2023

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Why house wives struggle with workouts!

I recently came across a thread where a woman said — “What’s stopping these housewives who are just getting fatter every day?”

For more context — It was a post on the wide availability of gyms in India, yet only 0.5% of the population accessing it. Gyms are democratised, working out is, but why are people not doing it? It hinted at the hectic lifestyle Indians have, which makes it practically impossible for the normal middle class to physically and mentally take out 1 hour per day for workouts, especially housewives.

To this point, a woman (!) replied with this — “What’s stopping these housewives who are just getting fatter every day?” While this might seem like a generally true statement — a lot of housewives in India have gained weight and struggle with weight-related issues. Technically, they do have more time than their spouses who work long hours and have to financially take care of the family. BUT

It made me think, while the thought and the statement are true, it was not just expressed extremely distastefully but it was also ignorant. Looking deeper into a housewife’s life could perhaps present an answer and also help clear their name!

As a housewife or husband, but for the purpose of this discussion, looking at housewives more. While technically they aren’t responsible for earning money for the household and not being stressed out about where the next salary or money has to come from. The truth is that housewives have a liability for everything — time management, finances management, taking care of the house and all present in it. But more than that the biggest thing is that women staying at home often do not have control of their own time, money, or effort. What do I mean by that?

A housewife gets up a few hours earlier than everyone so she can get the house ready, breakfast ready, get the clothes and accessories ready for the husband and the kids. Does she have time to read a newspaper in the morning? Perhaps not! One can argue that she can do all of that when everybody leaves. But that is exactly my first point; a housewife is not in control of her time. She cannot go to the gym or dance classes when the entire family is dependent on her.

The second is effort; taking care of the house takes physical and mental effort. There is always an emotional load, and you rarely have help available because it is believed that housewives would do the work themselves. When you do everything yourself, you tend to get tired of completing or doing things that are 100% focused on you. This is also followed by emotional labour of having to do one more thing.

The most important reason, I believe, could also be — Money. Spending that 2K per month gym membership fees to perhaps instead plan something for the house. Spend on the house or kids if needed. They might often neglect their needs to look after others’. On the other hand, the spouse and the kids don’t have to worry about household things and just focus on going to school/work and work. One singular focus. Housewives don’t have the luxury of getting that.

Perhaps the last and most major thing is actually going to the gym. When you don’t go out as often, you are not sure what to wear, you aren’t comfortable perhaps wearing fitness wear, how do you reach a place, who do you work out with etc? Other people might be really regular active guys. So women not just need to have the free time, money to go to a gym, they have to overcome all these other barriers as well. On top of that is the social judgement of family and friends if you go out. No one bats an eye if someone in your family is fat but boy if they want to take that effort of losing weight and going to the gym!

So you see it’s not as easy as saying — “What’s stopping them?” It’s deep, complex, and needs effort by society, the partner, the family, and finally the housewife.

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Aditi Chakraborty

A freelance Web designer. I help people start profitable side-hustles by offering key marketing skills — Social media management, web design, copywriting & more