Reasons Not to Exercise (and one very good reason why you should)

I wanted to address the idea of exercise today because being a Rockin’ 50 myself I know it’s a great idea that got lost amongst work, shopping and the kids, and not something many embrace with enthusiasm.  Partly due to the fear that someone might see that your waist is wider, your chest is lower, your stomach is more outy and your butt is now two rear knees.

I embrace the idea of exercise very well, the problem is that I also embrace the fact of procrastination and if I’m honest I’m far better at the procrastination.  However, in the interests of this blog I’ve investigated exercise at great length and given due consideration to all the latest fads and fashions.

I tried distance running and thought I was doing very well until someone told me that 10 feet wasn’t impressive.  So I gave that up on the grounds that the suggested distances were practically international.  France is only 3k from London isn’t it?

I thought about interval training but discovered that this didn’t mean going to the gym every 3rd month, something I’m really good at.  I passed out during the explanation of what it actually entailed and practically had to be resuscitated, so I gave that up in advance.

Then there was my foray into yoga, which was just embarrassing because whilst the others were putting their foot over their heads with ease even a rope over a pulley with three burly men tugging on it couldn’t get my ankle past my knee.

Pilates went well except that laying on the floor doing these very small movements very slowly just gave me time to worry about things that didn’t matter; when told to contact my abs they wouldn’t speak to me on the grounds of years of neglect.  Plus I fell over doing a balancing exercise that involved both feet firmly on the ground and the support of a wall, and I cannot bear the long-suffering look on the faces of instructors when that sort of thing happens.

Weight lifting was a problem because lifting my butt out of a chair didn’t qualify.  The wheels came off Step when I didn’t realise that a cat had laid down on top of it and I nearly spiflicated myself in order to save a treasured life.

Skipping made me look like a torturer’s victim, especially the rope burns around the throat – goodness knows how I did that – and trust me when I tell you that dangly crystal earrings and skipping ropes are not a good mix and I’m not giving up my earrings!  The stilettos are a killer too.

With kettle bells apparently it’s wisest to keep a good grip because having the mirrors in the fitness studio replaced is expensive and they don’t let you back in after you’ve narrowly missed the instructors head with 4kg of solid iron.  Personal trainers apparently want you not just to pay them but answer the door when they turn up, which is a huge obstacle to the idea of theoretically doing the right thing whilst not meaning a word of it.  You just can’t answer the door to a fitness instructor with a slice of cake in one hand and a bar of chocolate in the other.  They frown on that.

Then I discovered martial arts (all right I was thrown into the room by my husband – true story).

I am the least likely martial artist in the world.  When I first walked into a training hall, or Dojang, I’d never done anything that couldn’t be done in 3″ heels.  I spent the first year of my training with every hair sprayed in place and wouldn’t punch anyone if I wasn’t wearing mascara.  The training costume, Dobok, made me look like a bin bag tied in the middle, but the “aren’t you slim” comments when I wasn’t wearing it made that all worthwhile.  So I tried “all I really need to do is put on something that makes me look fat, take it off and look slim and fit” theory on my husband as a get out clause, but it didn’t work.

However, I loved it, I went twice a week and instead of going wobbly at the thought of exercising I went wobbly if I couldn’t go.  Sadly, just before I was due to take my 2nd Dan something ruined it for me and as I never found an instructor half as good as mine, so I had to give up.

This was followed by Zumba which I love but which I have several good reasons for not doing again: shape of the car park; time of classes; heat; cold; darkness; best time for tea/writing/attacks of indifference/laziness outbreak, and so on.  I refuse to admit that often I forget it’s Tuesday or 6.30 pm, or both.

However, or even butt, one of the things I’ve noticed since I turned fifty is that where fitness used to be an option it’s now more of a necessity.  Having spent 49 years getting this face and body to peak gorgeousness I suddenly found myself in a place where that gorgeousness needed to travel back north.

I also found, and don’t tell a soul, that I was starting to ‘ooof’ when getting in and out of chairs and as we Rockers know we can’t have that.  Taking all this into consideration, and wanting to avoid two rear knees, I’ve realised that whilst exercise is important you will only do it if you enjoy it.  So what do you enjoy?

  • If you enjoy the pub then choose one a distance away, walk there and enjoy one or two drinks and walk back; don’t undo the benefits with calories.
  • If you enjoy music and dance then Zumba or FitStep might float your boat, or you could try Ballroom and Latin, Salsa, or the Lindy Hop if you think you’ll survive.
  • If you like the water then walk or run by the water; same goes for trees, hills, beaches and so on. Walk and run where you like to be.
  • If you feel the need to walk or run but don’t really want to, try going out for 10 minutes and then turning round and coming back, increase your speed slowly going further and further every 10 minutes.
  • If you really want to try the gym and know you might as well throw money away then go the extra mile and pay a personal trainer, they’ll nag but you might find that you won’t let them down so you will go. Getting one that’s eye candy also guarantees at least 3 weeks attendance.
  • If you’re not fit then a Wii Fit is brilliant, it’s fun, easy and a good way to get started, providing you do it in bare feet or wear grippy socks otherwise it’s a good way to get to the emergency room. And beware of cats, dogs and rabbits.

For the men:


  • If you like footie then get a group of mates together for a fun kick-about, you can play together nicely in the park and you don’t have to be David Beckenham or Ryan Biggs (wasn’t he a train robber, or was that Ronnie Giggs?).
  • Men seem to enjoy riding bikes so get a push bike and a group of mates together and cycle to the nearest pub. This will be a brilliant for your fitness because you won’t dare have more than two beers otherwise on the way home you might wobble, break suddenly, slide forwards hard, and then you’ll fit right in at Zumba or FitStep.
  • You could also try shopping with your other half and running from store-to-store in front of him/her daring the staff behind the tills to take their credit card on pain of death. This will also help them as they will move much faster between shops trying to beat you.  Altruism rocks.

Other handy tips are:

If you have an upstairs and downstairs toilet in the house use the upstairs one when you’re downstairs and the downstairs one when you’re upstairs, except at night when it’s better for overall fitness if you make your way to the nearest exit point and don’t risk going downstairs the fast way – especially if you have black cats who sleep on stairs.

  • If you’ve never lifted a weight in your life use two tins of soup and work out a bit whilst you’re watching TV.
  • Play music indoors and jig about enthusiastically. You could also dance along whilst you’re using the sucky thing to clean the carpets.
  • Park at the opposite end of the car park to the stops, you know you’ll get a space easier because everyone else is trying to get two cars into one space in order to avoid all those yards of exercise.

There are so many fun ways we can exercise, keep fitter and consequently work off stress (which is very ageing and wrinkle inducing).  Think about what you’d enjoy and then give it a whirl whilst telling yourself that you’re off out for some fun.  Don’t whatever you do mention the exercise word to yourself or you’ll spend your fun time laying down in the recovery position trying to get over the shock.


We owe it to the world to preserve our gorgeousness.

Happy toning and buffing


P.S. If you punch or kick a punch bag please remember two things, one it comes straight back at you and two, raw steak is good for black eyes! I’m not sure if it works anywhere else though.

We owe it to the world to preserve our gorgeousness.

Happy toning and buffing


P.S.  If you punch or kick a punch bag please remember two things, one it comes straight back at you and two, raw steak is good for black eyes!  I’m not sure if it works anywhere else though.

P.P.S.  Always consult your doctor before taking up any new fitness programme (they could do with the giggle).  No seriously, be careful especially if you have existing medical conditions.


Thoughts of a Teenager

Dear Mum (and Dad, Gran, Grandpa)

I’m like totally down with having you guys in my life.  You seem like a great old bunch, bit fussy and pedantic sometimes but hey, I’m a Rockin’ teen and I’m quite capable of giving you a great view of my back and being careful to keep my long suffering look locked in until I get outside the house.  The tree in the front garden can confirm the number of long-suffering looks at your oldness.

You oldies are pretty great really compared to what some of my friends have to put up with, me an’ my bro are lucky I know that, but it gets really down (that’s down down not great down which means I’m up) when you guys start on about the dangers of this world and the need for a safe, well paid job, when I’m looking forward to my next night at a club and you’d be like totally freaked out about if you knew I’d ever been there (which you do now).

It’s a great place, I’m deaf and have a pounding headache for a few days after I’ve been and that’s why my college grades are a bit up and down, nothing to do with the hormone story I tell you, and I guess the pills and alcohol don’t mix well either but who cares, it’s worth it for the laughs and at least I’m not sitting indoors commenting on Corrie and like thinking it’s all real.  It’s not real guys, not like my life, that’s just too real for words.

My reason for writing to you is that I’m too scared to say this to your faces, and as I’m currently in France studying for my Geo-politics course (not…they have FANTASTIC clubs over here) it seemed like a safe time to tell you what I’m thinking.

You see I had a bit of a SHOCK the other day (no mother I’m not pregnant nor do I have an STD).

I capitalised it because it was a BIG shock, you see I was looking through your stuff for something I could wear to a retro party (were you really that skinny Mum?) and I found the family photograph albums.  “Yawn” I thought, and then a photo of our old dog Thumper fell out so I just had to put it back right ‘cos he was cool.

When I opened the book there were all kinds of old photos of you guys when you were young and even some of Granny and Grandpa when you and Dad were little.    Granny didn’t look much older than me when she was holding Dad.  You all looked so happy and alive, you were smiling these huge smiles in all the photos and in one you were in this tiny bikini I’d never get into and Dad was running down the beach with you in his arms.  You were like size zero or something and your boobs were all small and perky and up by your shoulders.

You looked happy and alive and now you look tired and bored.  Sorry but you do.  All the time bored.  “What shall we watch on TV?”  “I don’t care, you choose.”  I listen and think, why are you watching TV if you don’t care about it?  Sometimes it seems your whole life is about “I don’t care you choose”, not just TV but eating, eating out, shopping, everything.  And don’t get me started on hair (can’t be bothered to fuss with it) and make up (so old it’s drier than the Sahara).

I hope I don’t get like that, I want to want to always want to care and choose.

Then the other day I was passing your bedroom Mum and you were standing in front of the mirror and you looked so sad.  You were holding a roll of fat around your waist and trying to lift it up.  Then you leaned in and looked at the crows feet round your eyes and no matter how hard you pulled or lifted they wouldn’t go.  I know Dad says that he loves your “love rolls” and “laughter lines” and I know you say that you lost your figure having me and my bro and you wouldn’t change it for the world and I get that, but it does make you sad, I saw it.

Do you know why I was scared of a photograph album Mum?  It was because of everything you’ve lost.  Dad looked so fit running down the beach with you, and all that hair…where did it go?  Grandpa was looking at Granny holding Dad and he was so happy and smiling, and he looked quite fit under that suit.  Is it okay to say that about your Grandpa?

Granny was beautiful, her hair was all wavy and glossy, and she was wearing these impossibly high heels.  I wouldn’t dare try them now, not even when I wasn’t drunk (which I never am I hold my alcohol quite well…does that make you feel better?).

Where did you guys go?  I am sooo scared that I’m going to disappear to the same place and never find my way back like you guys.  Tell me, was it okay getting there?  Did having kids make up for everything?  Was the house worth all the hours work, and is driving a great car compensation for your waistline?  I really want to know.

What made you get so bored that all you do is watch TV?  That your only hobby is food shopping and you haven’t seen a film since Rock Hudson was young and good looking (and straight)?  What happened and was it okay?

It scares me Mum that I’m not going to be able to weed the garden because I can’t kneel, or because my back won’t take it.  It frightens me that me and my bro will be peering over a pair of glasses trying to see what’s listed in the TV magazines and look at the TV at the same time.  I don’t want high blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar and the stuff you guys keep talking about.  I don’t want aches and pains and missing teeth and not to be able to bite into an apple.  How do I avoid it Mum?  Please!!!!

I hope I haven’t upset you but I just want to know how to get older without saying “In my day…” as I ‘ooof’ trying to get out of the armchair, I want every day to be my day, a day I own because I’m in the here and now loving it.  Tell me how to do that Mum, or Dad, Granny, Grandpa…anyone.  You guys are all I have to ask and the only people I can watch to help me work this out.

Show me what to do

You’re loving daughter Abby

(P.S.  and Pleeeeze don’t criticise my grammer and tell me it should be whom not who…or my spelling because I’ve never been able to spell grammer/grammar but I can spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…I think…so I’m not that bad.)

“Abby where are you?”

“Up here love”

“What are you doing?”

“I was just looking for an outfit for Nicole’s retro party at school and I found a letter I wrote to my mum when I was at uni.”

“What’s it about?”

“A shopping list”

Shopping List

Gym membership

Recipe book with proper meals in it

Hairdresser (URGENT…call mum and take her with me)

Holiday brochures

Cinema list

Fit and buff personal trainer  (male)

Find out which are the best local restaurants

List of local events and groups

Contact lenses

Cool sunglasses with varifocal lenses

High heeled shoes (very high)

Extremely fit young male gardener