Necessary Evil

The aerobics teacher who runs my Tuesday evening body conditioning class is energetic, enthusiastic and always cheerful. She is an excellent advertisement for the benefits of regular exercise – she looks 15 years younger than she actually is, and her body is firm and toned without being too skinny. She’s a popular teacher and her classes are always full. In fact, you have to book in advance to get into them.

However, she suffers from this delusion that we’re all there because we’re enjoying ourselves. “You all look so serious,” she says as we puff and sweat our way through squats and lunges. “Smile! It’s supposed to be fun!”.

I’m sure there are some people out there who find exercise fun. I am not, and have never been, one of them. I do exercise for the same reason I eat vegetables – I really don’t like them, either, but I eat them because they are good for me. After 40 years this body is showing some signs of wear and tear. If I want it to last me another 40 years (and really, I do) I need to treat it well, get the heart and lungs pumping every once in a while and avoid too much fatty tissue building up over the organs.

This is why I exercise. No other reason. It’s painful, and leaves me aching. Some people tell me that “you’ll feel good afterwards”. This very rarely happens. I just end of feeling rather exhausted afterwards, and then a day or so later the aching muscles kick in. Admittedly, regular exercise avoids that feeling of lethargy and sluggishness that tends to build up if I go weeks without exercising at all, but the only positive feeling I tend to get after exercise is one of virtue. I was tired, but I went anyway. Yay me.

So I will keep aiming for regular attendance at my weekly exercise class. As I will continue to eat vegetables I don’t like, I will do it out of a sense of duty of doing right by my body, which after all I only get one of. I will do it without complaining too much, and I will try my best to keep my swearing inaudible when I get pushed to do one more set of those squats. But don’t expect me to enjoy it.


1 comment so far

  1. Michelle on

    At 40 I don’t think you should feel obliged to eat things you don’t like. There must be other good stuff you DO like. I didn’t eat anything I didn’t like at 4 and I certainly don’t intend to do it at 40! 🙂

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