I’ve always been rubbish at sports. If you gave me an egg and spoon at primary school I would drop them; enter me in a race and I would come in last, complaining of a stitch.
And I suppose I would always have been rotten at anything energetic, if it weren’t for the fact that when I was 12 my dad got a job in Jamaica. Everybody is good at sports in Jamaica. Even the cats there can swim. So I swam. Boy did I swim.
But even though I learned how to swim enormous distances, I remained scornful of anyone on dry land using their legs just for the sake of it. I mean, what was the point? Why jog anywhere, when you could catch a bus? Why pay money to walk on a conveyor belt in an airless room when you could just go for a walk? And why walk when you could sit down with a mug of tea, a packet of chocolate digestives and a decent book?
Sport was for earnest individuals who all overdid it and died young. As a journalist I was forever doing stories about squash players and joggers who had multiple heart attacks. Exercise was obviously really, really bad for you. So, naturally, I spent most of the eighties clubbing, drinking and generally behaving outrageously. Years passed, I got married, had kids and then I saw a video of myself at a party. OMFG.
There’s a field next to us with a farm track running through it. One day, while walking the dogs, and just out of interest, you understand, I thought I’d see how far I could run. I got ten steps. Ten! And I was wheezing like I had lung cancer. Maybe I had lung cancer!!! The next day I tried again – 12 steps. Hey hey! The next day I couldn’t be bothered. And so it went on. I began to run every day. Badly. I didn’t move my arms up and down because I reckoned it wasted energy. So I looked like a flapping zombie. My son found out what I was doing and told me, ‘Mum, nobody runs like that. Seriously. You look weird.’ Tah!
Came the day, my chest on fire, I got to the gate at the bottom of the field and hung on to the bars as if they were a life raft. The dogs, who had raced me all the way, hoping that I was going to do something interesting like throw a ball, sat for a second watching me, and then ran off with no effort at all, while I tottered home.
So then I started going to exercise class. It’s horrible. I have to make lots of physical effort, and my legs hurt, and my arms ache, and there is always a point where I am amazed that I haven’t died. Seriously. I mean, Sue who runs the class makes us run on the spot for at least three minutes to warm up. That’s cruel and unusual punishment, isn’t it? And then we have to do more stuff. Jumping up and down and stretching and press ups and so forth. For a whole hour. It’s really not natural.
But afterwards, I feel so bloody marvellous the rest of the day is a breeze. I might as well have a bluebird on my shoulder and seven dwarves juggling the crockery in the kitchen. In fact, it makes me feel so good, I’ve started boxercise too. A few weeks ago, Sue looked at me thoughtfully and said, ‘You could do a 10k run, you know.’
Pictures courtesy of Creative Commons, available at:
well I love your humor – and I also wanted to say that this is why I exercise too:
“But afterwards, I feel so bloody marvellous the rest of the day is a breeze…”
well said – have a great week, 🙂
thank you! am just thinking up possible excuses for not going this morning…but of course I’ll probably go.
Laughing counts as exercise. Elaine helps keep me svelte.
Thank you NTT! Wish laughing kept me svelte. Have just come back from weekly torture session. Still, I’m happy, especially after a large slice of cake.
Love it Elaine!
Hi, Elaine. Lively blog you’ve got going here. Thanks for checking out mine. Peace, John
Thanks, John. Nice of you to visit. I enjoy your blog too.
I was advised (a long time ago, in the navy) that “You are allocated just so-many heart beats in a lifetime. Why use them up needlessly?” and methinks he had a point.
Since then I’ve conserved mine assiduously—essential exercise only (and lots of it, boom-boom!) …
It’s amazing now to go on the ‘old shippies’ web pages and see just how many have ‘crossed the bar’.
Me? I’ll run up it and duck under when I get there—it might just work …
I’ll send you some choccy biscuits!
I finally found an exercise “situation” I can make peace with. I had to take a 2 month break from it. Health issues and exercise are a frustrating combination. But I’m losing weight and maintaining (even during the 2-month break). I like the endorphin thing, too–almost enough to remain committed to the routine. Although, I am not the insane person who lives to exercise. 😉
no, those kind of people can be really scary.
I went to the gym this morning for the second time this week – and also for the second time this year – and also for perhaps only the third or fourth time this decade. I guess I love exercise about as much as you. But how strange, as I was putting the bones of a post together this morning – on exercising – because going twice in one week has made me feel oh, so virtuous! You’re right too – a bit of exercise in the morning does make the day seem brighter. Those magnificent endorphins at work.
yes, how I revel in my endorphins, and that gorgeous sense of smug well being.
Very funny and enlightening post about your experience! Hope you keep running and exercising.
10K in a year maybe?
I might watch someone else do it…I could jump up and down at the end in a supportive sort of way!
Lol, I agree. Someone propositioned me doing a 5K today so I rescind my question about the 10K.
I started running during my final year of high school after climbing two flights of stairs–I felt like death and could barely hold a conversation. It was time, I told myself, I had to work on my health. I ran two 5Ks, and neither time it was about my speed, it was about finishing.
Then I moved to upstate New York where running outside is only pleasant two months out of the year. Unfortunately the thing about fitness is that you have to actually keep active to maintain the whole “being able to breathe on the stairs” thing going.
Or buy a bungalow
Oh how I miss swimming! It’s the only exercise I don’t get bored with but I’m too lazy to actually renew my membership for the local pool 😦
Yes, and all that faffing about with towels and goggles and shampoo; makes me tired before I even start.
I’m sticking to swimming, thanks. Anything involving legs and dry land, I’m trapped forever in flapping zombie, the joke of the gym class.
It’s just such a great buzz. And nobody laughs at me (well, not in a bad way!)
The great thing about exercise is that it’s even better if you do it with someone. I’ll bring the digestives.
yes, there were six of us this morning and it was a really good laugh
I see you’ve eaten all the dark chocolate digestive again. Serves you right if you have to jog tomorrow now.
xxx Massive Hugs xxx
Actually I have some of those really nice continental biscuits – you know, the ones that are like a square rich tea with a slab of dark chocolate on the top? – hidden on the top shelf by my desk….x
Watch it, there, Missus! You almost inspired me to get back on my Wii fit machine!
Go you. I too am undergoing an exercise metamorphosis, only mine is called “kids are home for the summer”. It also sucks. But then they go to bed, and I feel great for the rest of the day.
Yes, I know that feeling very well. Enjoy it while you can, because very shortly, they will stay up too, and demand to know why you’re watching such rubbish on the telly, and did you know what wine does to your liver etc etc etc. It’s like living with your parents all over again…
Sounds delightful. Although if they consider Spongebob Squarepants rubbish, then it might be worth the trade.
hahahaha I can totally relate! My students always ask me if I play sports, and I always laugh out my “No.” But I do love that feeling after exercising, and my husband and I desperately need to be healthier, so… we’re getting gym memberships. Yikes.
It’s when you stop exercising (once having started) that the weight goes on. I’m living proof!!
You mean I’m condemned forever to jumping up and down? Nooooooooooo!
The bulldog before and after comparison is a classic example of pet ownership’s love going over the edge. 🙂
Like you, if it hadn’t been for sports in school and beyond I likely wouldn’t have made any efforts at burning calories outside of wrist bending to play board games and getting up to walk across the room to change TV channels before they had remotes.
yes, I mean where would we be without remote controls? Still, you get reasonable finger exercise with them. That must burn a few calories….