This morning, as I clutched a coffee in one hand and my handbag and laptop in the other, I was almost mown down on my way into the office by a power-walking woman burning down the street in an olive-green Neoprene power vest.
But this was no ordinary power vest – this one was a long-sleeved hoody version, no doubt bought to accommodate the rainy weather of late. Seems the power walker was in such a rush to get to work, she’d thrown the vest on over her shirt, which was billowing around her like a puff of smoke. Or maybe that was a result of the additional carbon dioxide she was adding to the already-polluted atmosphere. There was also a strong smell of burning rubber as she elbowed me out of the way, although I couldn’t be sure if it was the suit or her trainers scalding the Tarmac.
Anyway, it got me to thinking that I really should step up my own fitness. So I took the plunge and joined the health club in my office building. After parting with a small fortune, I was in. I felt rather smug as I placed the membership card on my desk – so everybody could see that my body too was going to become a machine. I’d had to sign up for a 12-month commitment though, which was a bit of a worry as I wasn’t entirely sure I’d stick it for even an hour. So after shelling out for the right Lycra wear and springy trainers, I bounced my way down for my gym induction.
That’s when I realised that there’s a whole other corporate competition going on, only this one is under the guise of exercise, as opposed to work. Everywhere I looked there were people from my office, running or cycling and getting nowhere. The atmosphere was charged, with sideways glances to ascertain one’s treadmill speed compared with that of one’s neighbours.
After the induction, I decided to try out the aqua-aerobics, thinking that it would surely be more relaxed. But no, this was even worse. Now I’ve heard about “lane rage”, but what I experienced was tantamount to bullying. How was I to know that people had their special spots in the pool? Foolishly, I chose a spot near the side, thinking that I could be low-profile until I got the hang of it, only to be told by a woman with the waist size of a ten-year-old, who had obviously mistaken the pool for the playground, that I’d have to move as I was in her friend’s spot.
Think I’ll stick to walking my dog in future. I find it far more relaxing and besides, she’s much more of a good sport.