MY WIFE WORRIES A LOT about my weight. She remembers a time (which actually never happened) when women everywhere used to admire the muscles that rippled beneath my shirt. And she worries that I’ll die a horrible death if I don’t exercise more. Which is why, during the Covid-19 lockdown, we beach-walked in the sunshine, bush-walked in search of pinecones, puffed away on an exercycle, and performed graceful Tai-Chi in front of the TV.
It was the latter that reminded me of an earlier decade, when my wife ordered this DVD – a step-by-step Pilates guide that promised to “sculpt your body slim.” And I let her drag me from my bed each morning, to join her on the floor for (quote) “a fast, fun, no-nonsense 20-minute workout!”
All I had to do was copy the gorgeous, stretchy young things on the screen. And the first challenge was easy: “Lie on your back and breathe.” But the next exercise: “Press your bellybutton into your spine and pull your ribcage together …” was one I still don’t understand.
“Now cross your leg over and swing it down and up …” said the voice, warning me not to wiggle my hips. But YOU try not wiggling your hips! It’s impossible!
I was told to curl myself up into a C-shaped ball “and roll back and forth using your powerhouse …” But my powerhouse had flat batteries, and rolling back and forth could only be accomplished with loud grunting and heaving.
Twenty minutes seemed an awful long time just to tone my buttocks and thighs. And when I tried to “squeeze my tooshie” I almost popped a hernia. But it was the final exercise that killed me. “Take your hands and hug your ankles,” said the voice, “then lie on your back, and clap three times with your feet – like a seal!”
Like a seal? I was thrashing about like a frantic beached whale! And my wife had to come and untangle me.
“You should now feel taller, stronger and more sculptured …” droned the voice. But the woman was kidding. She had to be! I barely had the strength to turn off the TV …