I have just returned from the most purgatorial gym class you can attend if you are an unfit overfifty. I drifted in for my usual relaxing stretch class and took off my socks and trainers, looking forward to it after a couple of hours of exercise, shelving books at the library. I thought it odd that we were told to pick up some weights, as well as our mats, as we don’t use them at stretch. Then I heard, “Welcome to body conditioning!” Too late I remembered the times had been changed and the music started. The first 15 minutes were not too bad, the warm up, but as the pace quickened, and the exercises followed fast and furious. I soon began to perspire (not something I do when I go to the gym, so I don’t take a towel) and soon after that, sporting a streaming face the colour of beetroot, I had to surreptitiously use my socks to wipe my face. Not to worry – aerobic exercise has always turned my face purple and at least I am fit enough not to wheeze. In the muscle department though, I am clearly deficient: when it came to the relentless abs and obliques crunches, I just couldn’t do half the number of reps that the rest of the class was doing so I sneaked a good few rests, while the teacher was looking the other way, joining in again as her attention turned back to my side of the class. Thus did I survive the hour – the longest of my life. If it weren’t for the fact that our teacher is not a day under 65 and the lady next to me looked about 70, I think I would have crept away and be damned what anyone thought. So clearly, one can condition one’s body by regular attendance at this class.
There must be another way.