Exercise for the Soul

Some people love their exercise. We all know enthusiastic members of twice-weekly aerobic classes and weekly Bikram Yoga for innercore strenght, maybe even a cooling-down swim after.  Doesn’t it just make such a difference from their daily fitness-machine routine… I have even heard of people who start their day with a trip to the gym.

I hate it. Ok hate is maybe too strong. I hate swimming. Thank god, I can swim – hopefully it will save me from ever doing a Natalie Wood – but I definitely dislike it. The penetrant chlorine smell, the stinging in your eyes, you’re half-naked, worrying about your bikini-line and whether that old lady next to you peed in the water; as you can see: swimming is not for me.

So I opt for the gym. Why? Well the politically correct answer here is to say that it is healthy for you and you should take care of your body. I agree. Though but the main reason for me having to go to the gym is because I like food too much to diet and …I don’t want to gain weight.

[cue sound of controversial fear and doom]

In my defence: I am at a healthy weight now and gaining weight has previously made me unhappy. Just before I am inundated by referrals to Anorexics Anonymous, let me also state: losing weight has also been linked to unhappy times.  So there. Having seen anorexia up close as well, it is a horrible disease which unfortunately often occurs in very strong women. It’s an illness, not a badge, ladies!

Also, I am short: weight-gain just doesn’t help vanity. Hence I force myself to go to the gym. What started as  2/3 times a week (I had a lot of anger to vent six months ago!) has steadily declined to a reluctant hour a week.

Today I was considering to go but there was some tv thing on (which is ridiculous: four days ago I didn’t even have a working tv!) I was busy etc etc. Feeling guilty as women do, I walked home where a lady with a suitcase and an I-Phone came up to me. No, she didn’t give me a free phone: she was lost and needed to find her hotel. I tried to help her with the tiny map she produced, even phoned a friend but alas! It was getting colder and we weren’t going anywhere. So I invited her in to have a proper google and a drink.

After a sit-down and a few minutes of confusion, several websites and even a look at an old fashioned map, we decided to brave it.

We walked together for awhile, exchanging some niceties and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. Two complete strangers with really nothing more in common than mutual trust, a seemingly huge yet simple effort in this big bad world. Suddenly we found the hotel, so we shook hands and said goodbye.

Walking back over the bridge by myself, I felt happy: yes, who needs the gym when you can do some exercise for the soul.

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