Thursday, 6 August 2009

Of Being Tempted To Exercise

Anyone who knows me, knows that Exercise and I are not exactly soul mates. When I was younger, I was - amazingly - actually pretty sporty: I swam, played badminton, went horse-riding, and even learned how to do backwards somersaults on the trampoline. Heady days indeed. And how long ago they seem! After I became ill with M.E. at the age of fourteen, exercise was out of the question - for a long while I barely had enough energy to move from bed to the sofa. To be fair, a lot of the activities had stopped earlier ... but my illness really put the kibosh on any that remained. Thankfully, since I started university, my health has (touch wood), basically been fine, but even though I'd now count myself as pretty well completely recovered, somehow I've never quite managed to recapture that childhood enthusiasm for sporting activities... 

Even when I was younger, I was never a fan of team sport (well, I played netball for a while, but I think that was just because I liked the little pleated skirt you got to wear), and I have to confess to skipping the descriptions of hockey matches and tennis tournaments in the school stories of my childhood. All that whacking sticks around in the mud never quite appealed, and I think I just have an innate horror of anything requiring a gum-shield. Even quidditch never fired my imagination - I always thought that the beginning of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire would have been vastly improved by a fat red pen slicing through 90% of the description of the World Cup.

I did, however, go for a while to pilates classes, and then did a term of yoga in my third year as an undergrad, which I actually really enjoyed. Unfortunately, when the enthusiastic American friend who came to yoga with me went back across the pond, I never quite made it to classes on my own the following year. But I've been thinking recently that with the amount of time I spend sitting hunched over a desk, if I don't want to end up a wizened old woman with a hump by the time I'm 30, I should probably do something about it. And recently I came across an excellent added incentive in this divine yoga mat and kit bag. The line has just been introduced by the wonderful oGorgeous:

Now, this is really my kind of exercise bag! The bags came to my attention thanks to a feature on the fabulous style and lifestyle blog Modish, and they come in various designs, although the one with the bow (rather aptly called Fashionista) is far and away my favourite. It would go so nicely with my current handbag... If anything is going to inspire me to find a new yoga class, this is it!

And as Sir W, in his essay 'Of Life, and the Fashions of Life' (1600) reminds me, when I enjoy Good Food as much as I do, a little exercise once in a while may not be such a bad thing...

'I am afraid our much Eating, and little Exercise, is the cause of this our lowe flying, and heauinesse: our many Crudities send vp dull heauy vapours, that makes vs like better of a bed, then of a saddle.'

9 comments:

Candle said...

I think that exercise is better spent walking door to door bringing people to their senses. We should be trying to stop the right wing from taking over our lives.

skirmishofwit said...

Oh, I LOVE that!! I WANT!!! If you do exercise, then you may as well do it in style ;)

Sophie said...

Haha my sentiments exactly! This is definitely going on my Wish List ;)

Candle: yes, expending energy on something you really believe in is always going to be better than an exercise class, I'm sure!

Candle said...

I burn with hope, and I will guide you. Thank you for your non-corporate words.

Merenia said...

You could take this dainty mat with bowed bag to Mont Blanc and roll it out for a little apres ski stretch and tone up...a perfect foil for the Big Boots. (You could also take a copy of Hotel du Lac, by Anita Brookner as it is set in this area; shores of Lake Geneva.)

Table Talk said...

Hi Sophie, I've just found your blog via Harriet Devine. I'm at the other end of the academic trail to you having retired from my paid job a couple of years ago, although I still hold a senior fellowship in the English Department of my local University. My field was Language and specifically Narrative Structure, but I'm now going back as a student to the Early Modern period to keep my brain cells working and because that is one of my great interests which I couldn't really follow while I was working. As for exercise, it the yoga that keeps me sane. Without it I would never keep calm and balanced enough to do anything. If the bag gets you into classes then I'm all for it.

Sophie said...

Haha, yes, Merenia - it would make The Boots a bit easier to deal with! Thanks for the Brookner suggestion. I hadn't realised that's where Hotel du Lac is set, and I'd definitely like some 'local' reading while I'm there.

Hello Table Talk - thanks for coming by! I'll definitely be trying to find a new yoga class this coming year, especially if I get the bag ;) What sort of Early Modern course are you going to be doing? Sounds like a great idea!

Table Talk said...

I'm going to the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford (part of my own Department) to do the MA in Shakespeare and Theatre with the intention of doing another PhD later if it all works out. I did all my original degrees part-time while I was working full-time, so the idea of 'just' being a student is really novel.

Sophie said...

Oh, that sounds wonderful. I know someone just going into her second year of a D.Phil here who did that MA, and enjoyed it very much. It does sound like a fabulous course - I've heard so many good things about it. I hope we'll be hearing about it on your blog!