Monday, 19 April 2010

Exercise, Schmexercise...

I have to thank the pant-wettingly-funny post today over at 'Not Waving But Ironing' for the inspiration behind this.  Seriously, you HAVE to check out  the story of Conference Pear Girl... go on, I'll wait....
My journey with any form of physical exercise consists of a treacherously rocky terrain where there are rather too many flowers to pick and smell on the way and a temptingly large number of 'bide-a-while' places to sit and catch your breath when the incline gets a bit much.
I guess I could 'blame' my mother (that's what she's there for after all, right?) for any 'weighty' issues I may have grown up worrying about. Because she seemed to go on about it endlessly.  She'd munch celery sticks dipped in salt for a snack; make up beetroot sandwiches with no butter and everything had to be brown, wholegrain, wholemeal and stuffed to the gills with every kind of bran-fibre known to man.  I'm assuming she was also a very regular woman although I have no solid evidence of this (fnaarr).

And she liked to try an exercise 'regime'.  I remember a yoga book she had which became a kind of Bible in our house in the eighties.  Furniture would be pushed to the walls, rugs rolled up, dogs shut in the kitchen, covers placed over gerbil and budgie cages and the curtains drawn.  But fear not, concerned neighbour, there are no black magic practices afoot at No.4... no, Mrs Cooper's got her Yoga book out and she's not afraid to use it.
So for the next thirty minutes mother would twist and turn and bend and stretch and pull and then.... relax.  And she enthused so much over this revelation in spiritual and body transformation that even I almost believed she'd turn from a 5 foot barrel into a lithe, supple temptress with hair nearly as long as her legs (a la Yoga lady in the book).

Didn't happen, obviously. And then that's when the eighteen hour girdle stepped in and did it's thing. Backed up with a 5 mile bike ride every evening in front of Dallas and Emmerdale Farm. A determined lady.  But always behind closed doors.  Like it was a sin to sweat in public.
All of which actually left me totally uninspired. In those days my main form of exercise was dancing in night clubs until the wee small hours three nights a week and drinking so much I threw up anything I'd eaten during the day.  I don't know why that diet didn't catch on. Or even what it would be called if it had.
When I left home I tried the craze that was the Jane Fonda Workout video.

Three nights a week, my colleague and friend Netta *wave* would come home with me and we'd make sure we didn't eat anything too heavy beforehand, we'd change into our leotards and ankle warmers, we'd tie out hair back, place a bottle of water beside us, push all the furniture to the walls, insert the Jane Fonda video, shake our limbs about a bit to warm them up and then watch....
...and  rewind  a bit - just to make sure we'd seen it properly - after all we didn't want to be damaging ourselves by over-stretching and pushing our bodies too near their limits, did we?  Oh, and... eeeewww... not sure we could actually, physically manage that one - maybe we should fast-forward to the next part.  And..... ooofff... that looks a bit dangerous, pass me the remote... and the bottle of water...oh and... is that a packet of crisps over on the coffee table?  By that nice comfy chair?  Where the packet of Hobnobs were left from yesterday?   And what's that next to the Jane Fonda Workout video case?  Vital Idol - the Best of Billy, hmm?  Well - I'd prefer that kind of music to the twanging, jarring line-dancing nonsense Jane's playing - let's stick that on and make out own routines up to that, shall we?
And...reach.... over to the biscuits... and stretch that hand out to the glass of chilled white wine.... and in and out and back and forth and up and back and round and round.... and.... rest.  And rest.
We liked that part the most, I remember.
So when a colleague asked me today if I'd like to buy a cross-trainer from her, I seriously thought she was offering me the chance to purchase one angry running shoe.
I can think of much better ways of increasing my heart rate.  And Billy Idol was just the start.


sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

Debs Riccio said...

Thanks sfauthor, but the day I pick up another Yoga book is a very, very long way off, I fear!

Michele said...

you are so funny! It's pretty similar to my own experiences with exercise or lack there of. Thanks for my laugh of the day- I knew I could count on you!

Debs Riccio said...

Aw, Michele, you're welcome. did you read the 'notwavingbutironing' blog too? There're some FUNNY FOLK out there in blogland!