I have always had a half arsed approach to exercise. When I was still at school, I and a couple of equally slothful friends would hide from our (v.butch) P.E. teacher, in the toilets, or behind the bike sheds. The bearded lady was a sadist, who would force us to march across the frosty playground and up on the field wearing nothing more than unflattering black pants, white t-shirts and plimsolls. She wielded her hockey stick like a deranged Samurai warrior and her best swings were reserved for our shins.
Fortunately, as I grew older, I stayed small and slim. The only real exercise I got was from lifting glasses and finding my way home on mornings after. I was also neurotic and the anxiety of 'what have I done' could shed half a stone in 24 hours. Being a gibbering mess can have a plus side. Big Lynn and I were once complimented on our slender figures, and her then boyfriend pointed out, rather ungentlemanly I thought, that the only exercise she and I got, was the shakes the next day.
In the 1990's I decided to get fit, and bought the iconic Jane Fonda exercise video. I have to say, its always been my favourite, mostly because I like the dancing. Not that I was any good at it, but I liked jumping around and if I survived that bit, the divine Ms Fonda would say 'lets go get our mats, and you might like a drink of water'. I didn't have a mat, and I replaced water with Stella Artois, and joined in happily with the spine stretching and stomach curls. Though it must be said, it is not easy doing buttock crunches with a fag in your gob.
During one of my major breakdowns, and after months of therapy, I decided to take up the offer of a free seven day membership to a local gym. The key word was of course, free, and I threw myself into it with the enthusiasm of unknowing amateur. By my calculation, half an hour on an exercise bike equalled one bottle of wine and a bag of chips.
The yoga was great fun, though not meant to be, and as a hopeless giggler I was confined to the back of the class and not invited back. The swimming was sublime, and I could flap my bingo wings in the ladies only class and worry not a jot about my running mascara and panda eyes. I wear makeup everywhere. I fell asleep in Pilates, and cracked my shin in the boom boom bike class, when my foot slipped and the pedal carried on, which was enough to convince not to invest in the cute fluorescent lycra suit in the window of JD Sports.
But exercise I must, these days everytime I move a limb I sound as though I am being followed by the timpani section of a small orchestra. Everything, creaks and aches, ahh, where did I put that Jane Fonda video?