I bloody hate exercise.
It was all so easy in our twenties. In those heady days my friends and I managed to stay relatively slim and fit, by surviving on toast and vodka and going clubbing at least once a week. We focused on starting our families in our thirties. Then we turned forty and something really strange happened.
Everyone started running.
Suddenly Facebook was awash with people entering 5k fun runs (an oxymoron surely), triathlons, Iron Man, Tough Mudder, even the occasional marathon.
Seriously folks, what’s with all the running?
I am inconsistent when it comes to exercising. Yes, I’ve done a few weeks of Yoga using Yogaia (which I still highly rate as a service), but soon got out of the habit. A couple of years ago I had a go at swimming twice a week, but what a ball-ache that is with long hair, and no one wants to walk around barefoot on those leisure centre floors.
My bicycle even got an airing for 3 weeks during the summer of 2013. I started cycling to the station each morning. That all ended when one day I took a shortcut, tried to tackle a small incline and was shouted at by a man in a white van: “Oy GO HOME!”, he said, so slow and wobbly was my peddalling.
And then there was that hilarious exercise session, which I thought was a yoga class, but turned out to be HIIT – a form of TORTURE, which people pay for.
Each of these new exercise regimes is announced publicly to friends and family to make myself accountable. Each programme begins with vigour and enthusiasm and a real belief that this time will be different, this time I’ll stick to it.
I never do. I’m too impatient. If I haven’t lost a dress size after a couple of weeks, I give up. I want instant results, spontaneous weight loss and overnight muscle tone.
My latest (surely soon to be short lived) exercising fad, is to try to get into running, along with the rest of the forties crowd.
I mean if everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?
I’ll tell you why. It’s horrible. Running hurts my legs, my shoulders and my lungs.
So far I’ve attempted a post-school-drop-off run three times since we returned from holiday. The first time, I found it so difficult to catch my breath after a minute, that three quarters of the session was spent walking while simultaneously gasping for air.
The second time was no better.
Yesterday I ran again. It was a bright autumnal morning.
The grass was dewy, the sun shone through the trees and, although I still hated the running, the environment made it a pleasant enough experience overall.
I’m now jogging a third of the time, gasping/walking for a third, and the rest involves stopping to gaze at the sky and photograph our local nature reserve. I even attempted a Facebook Live video during the cool down period (not good enough to publish!).
One benefit is that the early morning fresh air gives me time to think. I’ve ditched the musical accompaniment. It’s just me, a few people walking their dogs and nature.
I’m not the best person to take exercise advice from obviously, but if you hate running, stay off the pavements, find somewhere beautiful to run and take your pleasure from your surroundings.
People say exercise gets easier with practice. Yeah? When?
They say the endorphin high is addictive. But the burning in my lungs and the intense pain in my legs prevents me from ever getting a high, or even much of a sense of achievement.
I’ll stick with it – for now. The alternative is getting fatter and more unfit, my kids continuing to call me lazy and sliding into self-loathing.
Is the whole endorphin thing just a big fat conspiracy theory? Are you a runner? How easy was it for you to get into it? Leave me a comment, I need all the encouragement I can get.
Much love, Vx