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Thursday, 13 October 2011

What a Difference a Gym Makes

I got into gyms comparatively late in life, in my mid-forties. At school gym was about the last place I wanted to find myself. No, on second thoughts it was totally the last place I wanted to find myself. I said goodbye to PE at age 18 and never regretted it. Then I read Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman. 'Forever' sounded a bit optimistic, but I was enthused enough to alter my lifestyle in several ways, including putting a bit more exercise into it. I joined the gym near my place of work.

Last month my employer moved location, and the formerly local gym is now remote. Swallowing my tears as I discovered its mandatory three month cancellation period (bast**ds!), I said goodbye and joined the gym nearest our new site.

It's smaller, and several pieces of equipment I'd grown used to are no longer available, and there's a wall with a notice telling me not to use it as a support "for my own safety" (and to prevent me dislodging any more of its loose plaster), but I can ignore all that. Even the fact that they have communal showers (shades of school again).

No, what's bugging me is the average age of my fellow gymnasts (is that the right word?). At the last one, many of the clients were well into their retirement. I could comfortingly reflect on how I was still the Right Side of 60. In the new place I seem to be one of the oldest people there. It's early days, and maybe I'm just having a wrong first impression, but it seems that, rather than being surrounded by people trying to get fit, I now find myself among the already perfectly fit, annoyingly attempting to get even fitter.