I’ve never been very good at the whole fitness thing. I’ll go to the gym and do a ‘work out’ that feels comfortable and doesn’t push me, I’ll barely break a sweat and then leave after half an hour. I’ve been to spinning classes and actually find them quite enjoyable, but mostly the ‘enjoyable’ part comes once the end is reached and I can go home, collapse and eat some saturated fat. Swimming is something I’ve always liked, although I prefer just to splash around and have fun rather than do fifty lengths.

Credit: Google Images

An unexaggerated representation of what I look like when I try to run.

But running

Running was not meant for me.

My brother is the complete opposite. He drinks those awful protein shakes, goes to the gym regularly, runs every day, and worse, has taken to dragging me along with him. Today we went on what has been our second run together, quite a short affair but with lots of ups and downs that made the whole ordeal pretty much horrendous. I have to admit, I did not try very hard today. Friday’s run was much more successful; although I almost gave up a couple of times, I did manage to run up the last hill home and felt quite good about myself by the end of it. But today I got a burning, stabbing stitch on bothΒ sides almost immediately after stepping out of the house, and it made me ask myself: why? Why do people put themselves through such pain? Swimming is easy. Power walking is fine. Cross-trainers aren’t the worst things in the world. Spin class I can just about bear, even though it’s one of the more challenging exercise classes around. But there is something about the act of running that is just painful, horrid and unpleasant and makes me want to die.

The thing is, I’m one of those lucky people whose natural build has always been very slim. I don’t have fat to burn off, and if I eat lots of chocolate and carbs and rubbish one day, then I don’t tend to feel very guilty about it because I know that my wonderful friend the Fast Metabolism will get to work on it and vanish it all away. So why do I feel like I have to exercise or ‘get fit’? I have been blessed with the gift of a naturally toned-ish body, I rarely seem to fall ill, I’m pretty certain I’d be able to run from danger if danger appeared, or swim out to save a drowning person if the need arose, and other than these fairly unlikely circumstances, why else would I ever need to be fit?

So I’m taking a stand on behalf those of us who don’t like to exercise. I may not be able to run a mile without keeling over, but I’m healthy, in good shape, I’m a strong swimmer and I can walk for as long and as far as ever I need to. I know that one day my metabolism will flop and I will be left with wobbly bits and a muffin top and a saggy bum, but hopefully by then I’ll be married to a nice, equally imperfect man who will think I’m beautiful despite the odd bit of flab. And if not…well, if not then I’ll look back on this and wish I’d started getting into the habit of exercising when I was young and able. But my motto has always been to live for the day, so future, middle-aged, flabby me is just going to have to deal with that.

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