Recently I have been going through another one of my ‘I want abs’ phases. How long this will last is anyone’s guess but based on past experience then it will be a week at best. I am one of those people who wish they could be fitter but find the thought of the gym far too daunting to even consider putting on gym clothes for it. I have a few friends who are, or used to be, totally devoted to the gym and this infatuation rarely made any sense to me whatsoever because I think the last time I went to the gym was when I was 13.
For me, the thing that does not appeal is the thought of getting sweaty in front of many other people who don’t seem to perspire at all. There is also the fear that the regular gym goers might look at you and think, ‘does she even know what she’s doing?’ and, because I have never been to a gym induction the answer would most definitely be no.
Unfortunately, I have very little patience when it comes to exercise even though I know that instant results are not going to occur; I will not simply grow abs in my sleep after I have done one round of sit ups. This is now something that I am slowly getting used to. It seemed to be the ‘done’ thing to get a gym membership at university and in my first year I used it to its full extent (expect for actually going to the gym). I went to multiple classes a week, swimming and even went to a spin class led my friend. However, now in my second year I have rarely used it; out of the three things listed above I have only continued with one which is the spin class, and although it is keeping me fit and giving me something to do on a Tuesday night, I know that I have let myself down and resigned myself to being a slobby student.
This thought, of not being active enough, my face filling out and not quite fitting into some of my clothes anymore, spurred me on to do something different and that’s where dog walking came in. I’m lucky in some respects that my Nottingham University campus is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by never ending fields, a canal and a river. I have a passion for dogs and, one day, hope to own one but the closest I can get to actually having one of my own at the moment is volunteering at a dog shelter which is a five- minute drive from my university halls.
There have been so many times that I have nearly taken a dog home and went so far as to take my parents dog walking to show them that I can actually pick up dog poo. I think that going outside in the fresh air is my type of exercise and not being inside breathing in other people’s perspiration. My first long walk certainly made my legs ache and one of my friends commented on how toned my legs are although this might be down to sixteen years of skiing. The dogs are a welcome companion an it is also something that I can do with my friends; instead of sweating away on a treadmill, not being able to talk for the lack of air in my lungs, I can have long conversations (albeit about dogs) for almost two hours. I like to run with the dogs and the people who know me best know that I hate running unless it’s for a bus to my lectures. In this respect it’s a win- win situation.
So for me, exercise is about getting out and doing something that will make you forget that you’re exercising and make you feel good. I know that because the price for my university gym membership is sky-rocketing next year, I will have to find different ways of keeping myself fit and must remember to continue doing Pilates in my room and maybe get a sort of six pack.