My exercise regime has become, well a regime. I’m not sure how that happened. One minute I’m lamenting the fact that I’m bone idle and trying to peel myself off the sofa. The next I’m briskly walking four times a week and enjoying it. Who’d have thought it?! Exercise does release those feel good endorphins, and sets you up for the rest of the day. It puts you in a good mood and is addictive. You want and crave more.
It doesn’t take much to see results either. I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’ve been able to pick up the pace and exercise for longer. I’ve also lost weight. This wasn’t my intention. I only wanted to exercise to stay healthy. But, I’m not complaining at anything that gives me a legitimate reason to go shopping for new clothes.
However, my new-found regime took a hit recently as my girls were ill. I normally go walking whilst they are at school, and having them at home for nearly two weeks prevented me from doing this. By the time my husband returned home from work, it was far too dark to pound the streets on my own. To be honest, I would probably have been perfectly safe but I don’t like to tempt fate in these matters.
Unfortunately, the girls were ill for their birthday. Their party was arranged for two days later so my husband and I were hoping and praying that they would be well by then. It didn’t look good. We had to pay a visit to the emergency doctor the evening before. But, somehow or other (in the way only kids can), they had recovered by the following morning. How do they do that? They are pale, clammy and listless one minute; the next they are using the sofa as a trampoline. I wish I could recover like that.
We’ve always had birthday parties at our home but had decided to hold one at the local sports’ centre this year. It offered soft play and a bouncy castle, with food afterwards. All arranged for you – no sandwiches to make, no mess to clean up, no five year olds to try and entertain. Actually, it did feel like a bit of a cop-out when we booked it, but we were exhausted after tending sick children and it was a very welcome relief that we had chosen this option.
There were about twenty children at the party and they all had a whale of a time running around and bouncing on the castle. It was a huge castle, as big as two standard sized ones. I loved bouncy castles as a child. Wherever I went, if there was a castle, I had to have a go. I loved bouncing high, I loved bouncing onto my bottom, I loved trying to run from one side of the castle to the other – I loved it all. My parents have photos of me on various bouncy castles and on each and everyone I have a great big smile. The sort that most definitely goes from ear to ear.
I sat and watched all the kids bouncing with the same expression I used to wear. I got fidgety watching them. Fidgety, restless and twitchy. In the end I could stand it no more. I approached the party organiser and asked, “Can I have a go?” “Of course,” she said. “Adults are allowed on as well,” she added to my rapidly retreating form. I threw off my boots and launched myself onto the castle before the words had left her mouth.
My actions opened a floodgate. Well, a tiny dam. The sight of me bouncing brought out the inner child in a couple of other parents who were obviously as desperate as I was for a go. There were three of us bouncing away much to the kids’ delight and other parents’ bemusement. I gestured to my husband to join us. He shook his head. I gestured again. “Come on. You know you want to,” I shouted. He shook his head again. “Come on Daddy,” shouted my daughters and he “reluctantly” jumped on too. What a charlatan! He may have fooled the other parents but he certainly didn’t fool me. I knew he secretly wanted a turn too. We’d discussed it before we’d left home for goodness sake, so what was with the pretense?!
I knew the minute I was on the castle that I too had a beaming ear to ear grin. I was transported back to my childhood and was filled with the kind of joy that I experience much too little as an adult. However, it soon became more than apparent to me that I was a child no longer. How the children all managed to bounce for so long was beyond me. Two bounces and my legs were aching and I was out of breath. This is despite my new-found love of exercise. Goodness knows how I would have felt if I did this a couple of months ago. I find in these cases the fun factor gets you through it. I’m sweating like a pig, my face looks like a beetroot, I’m breathing like an asthmatic, and my legs are wobbling like a jelly but I’m having fun and I’m not about to stop.
It’s a shame walking isn’t as fun as this. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking, but it doesn’t make me feel as carefree as bouncing does. It doesn’t bring about that euphoric, laugh until my lungs feel like they’ll explode, smile until my face splits feeling that this did. Perhaps this should be my new fitness regime. Instead of walking I should get a bouncy castle. It must be a great workout – great cardio, great for the thighs, great for your bum, great for the soul. Mm… but where on earth would I put a castle? My house and garden is full of far too many toys as it is. Especially after the girls’ birthday. Maybe, not. Perhaps I’ll have to stick to walking after all.