When I was thirteen I fell in love. Not with a person but with sport. To be more specific I fell in love with the trampoline.
We did a short course at school and that was it; I was hooked and desperate for more. I heard that a girl in another class belonged to a club. She wasn't a friend as she was the golden girl of the year group; blond hair, blue eyes, clever, musical, and popular. My opposite in almost every way but I was desperate to join the "the club", so I plucked up the courage to approach her and ask to go with her. So began one of the happiest periods of my life. I got to know a group of like-minded people who became hugely influential in my life. I lived for Wednesday and Thursday evenings when the club was on. We would all meet up on Sundays too and go swimming or for a bike ride.
There is a point to all this reminiscing. At a time when many kids choose the wrong path, I had a passion and a circle of friends that not only kept me out of trouble but shaped the person I am today. I learnt the benefits of an active lifestyle at an early age. I don't often get on a trampoline these days and it wouldn't be a pretty sight, but I still enjoy exercise. There is nothing better than a bracing walk along the canal or by the sea. I went for a swim the other day and had forgotten how much I enjoy it. I love Zumba classes and belong to a gym. But it would be fair to say that I don't overdo it.
My husband however, takes fitness to the extreme. I caught him sneakily applying for the London Marathon next year. He has run it quite a few times but after knee surgery at the age of 60, he was told that he really shouldn't be running long distances unless he wants a complete knee replacement! He listened for a while and took up cycling. Great I thought. Much less stress on the knees. Now this has also become an obsession as he strives for longer distances and a faster pace. Personally I have never felt the need to be over competitive in sport and listen to my body when it screams "stop". I can't really understand the drive which makes some people battle through if there is a chance to shave a couple of seconds off their PB.
There is no denying that there are huge health benefits if you take a moderate amount of exercise and equally there are consequences if you don't. So many weight related health issues such as diabetes and heart disease can be avoided by making simple lifestyle changes.
As always in life, it seems there should be a balance. We owe it to ourselves to try to stay healthy and enjoy a reasonable level of activity. As my Mum would say, everything in moderation and she's just turned eighty! Now I've just got to hide that Marathon application!!