Like with most males over forty, the sense of lessened longevity rises and the need to demonstrate one can wire a light fitting while standing on a steel ladder in a puddle of radioactive piranha fish in the rain diminishes into a more productive need of postponing the inevitable. Out goes the daily greasy bacon sandwich from the dodgy cafe. Away goes the all day alcohol athletics and ta-ta to the tobacco triathalon. Health and longevity increasingly comes first.
Surprised I've reached the age I have after a steady diet of fags, booze and deep fried related treats, one minor heart attack in my late twenties and a 30ft drop from a Snowdonian waterfall, I've gingerly been entering the world of the Gym Bore. Gingerly because I have a light ginger tinge to my hair. Bore because that's all I talk about of a morning with my "lift-to-work" buddy Katy.
Longer term readers will recall that I used to gym a lot when I worked at Liverpool Uni on account of them having a reduced-staff-rate-gym-membership, long geocaching laced walks in rural Barnsley and how zoefruitcake and I had a period of swimming when we lived in Leamington Spa, but since moving to the rural theme park of Northamptonshire, exercise has been minimal, food more tasty and the job more sedentary; the perfect conditions for a surprise visit from old reaper chops. Therefore it made sense to seek medical approval from my GP to return to regular exercise and in doing so, was referred to a gym run by a local health charity called Reach for Health .
On your first visit, Reach for Health, as a responsible NHS approved scheme, assess your needs and abilities against the last time you did regular exercise and chuck together a simple programme that allows even the lardiest chub bucket to slowly build up their strength and stamina scores without the need to roll a 12 sided die. Its nice there, especially as most of the usual gym fucktards are nowhere to be seen and the usual chain gym chai latte and rabbit food bars are non-existent.
Sure, the gym owner reminds me very much of a sarcastic sadistic PE teacher I once had when I was at school called Mr Pedder, but after mentally visualising the entombing of said teacher in liquid concrete, any feeling of dread, malice, insecurity or inferiority pass and I return from flash backs to the present day where the gym owner is a nice helpful guy who just wants to encourage you to build your confidence and do well. Unlike Mr Pedder, who is now, hopefully, crippled with painful arthritis and having his food fed to him on a spatula by a disgruntled Romanian nurse while sitting about in shit filled gym shorts.
Anyway, after going to the gym since the new year, this week saw me moving up a level from an easy going and mildly puffing beginners mode to a "If my knees don't hurt at the end of this I'll be surprised" intermediary level of gym exercise. Members are given a card with their prescribed exercises listed and during your membership, these are slowly added to, but you are allowed to up them yourselves providing you're sensible and realistic.
So after two months, do I feel any different? Well I certainly feel more energised and firmer but after three years of sitting at a desk instead of pacing up and down a classroom and rushing on foot to get through cities in the East Midlands, I'm bound to feel a bit saggy. My weight hasn't changed much either, but I put that down to the sneaky treats I have occasionally. Either way, I'm pleased that my minor efforts have probably prolonged the inevitable.
Even if it's only by a couple of days.....
Watch out for that bus!