Exercise is challenging for me at the best of times. I’m basically lazy, the only thing that stops me from slobbing on the sofa with unhealthy food and drink is I like to walk where wheels won’t go and for that I need to be relatively fit. I have little desire to go out and tramp city streets really, but I need to keep active or, like an old car engine, I’ll seize up, and even getting off the sofa for another bag of crisps or glass of wine will become difficult. Oh, the horror!
I have no excuse; I live in an eleven storey building. That’s a lot of stairs (94 actually, I counted them. I know: sad). Neil and I are making it a habit to climb them at least once a day. He’s better at it than I am, primarily because he can get up all eleven flights without sounding like he has a bad case of a pandemic virus or looking like he’s auditioning for a tomato commercial. It’s a common sight when we’re out anywhere, cycling or walking, Neil casually waiting at the top of some form of incline, glancing at his watch and down the slope until a soggy form of something that might have once been human hoves into view and struggles up the last few metres, gasping for oxygen like she’s at the top of Everest. Tolstoy wrote War and Peace in less time than Neil often has to wait for me.
I do a regular Pilates class (as much a social event as structured exercise), which I miss during lockdown. Doing the same thing at home isn’t impossible – like some questionable seventies dances, I know all the moves – I just get off my arse and do it. (I refer you to my earlier comments.) I’m pleased to report that this is one thing that has actually become easier during lockdown (besides finding an excuse to sit on the sofa with crisps and wine).
My lovely friend Brigitte (remember, the strangler of ideas into reality?) has created her own YouTube channel and is posting Pilates classes on there. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOA4v89ClhpEVfJPSu1uvBw) She’s far cleverer than me – I can barely put a few words and pictures online. She’s also an excellent teacher and all you need to follow her lessons is an internet connection and a space. (See in the photo how I have to adapt my space to accommodate my flailing arms and legs. I know my arm should be straight, but since breaking my elbow a few years ago that’s as good as it gets.) All the videos are short so even I have no excuse for not following every day. Have a look. Brigitte makes it look easy but we don’t all look as elegant as she does when we move. Think more ungainly chimpanzee than sleek gazelle. Brigitte has been teaching me for many years. And she could still write a novel whilst she’s waiting for me to complete a full set of curl ups.