That’s how the song goes, doesn’t it? I remember thinking how uncomplicated it is for a well-shod person like Mr Jagger to keep fit. Uncomplicated, not so much because he’s always had the money to kit himself out with gym equipment and maybe afford a personal trainer, but because he had, and still has the time to put himself through a multitude of exercises every day.
It’s an annoying fact that our bodies start going to seed after the age of thirty. The process is insidious, but inevitable. And dammit, it’s also a fact that, as a rule, when we are in our thirties and forties, we are at our busiest. We are cutting out careers for ourselves and having children. These two things alone are enough to ensure that we are at our most exhausted in the evening, and have little inclination to go to the gym. Even if we are determined to go to exercise after work, when then have to factor in getting meals and finding somebody to look after the children.
I lived in a family with a mother who constantly battled with her weight. Her lamentations on this subject got into my psyche and I thought the same was on the cards for me. Thankfully, an actress by the name of Jane Fonda then came up with a fitness craze that eventually swept the western world. You can remain slim and fit, she said, as long as you get off your bum and do her set of aerobic exercises every day. Aside from her fitness movements, aerobics in the form of jogging and sustained swimming also became popular. Gyms opened up and now even airports have them, to ensure that long-haul travellers can factor in their wellness routines.
I chose to exercise in the morning and get it all over with for the rest of the day. When I first went to early morning swimming sessions at my local pool, it was just after the Jane Fonda craze took off. Then, only cranks got up in the morning and swam a mile before work. I ignored all that and duly swam my lengths with the mantra, keep at it or watch it all point south and turn to jelly, swishing through my synapses. Afterwards, I attended meetings with chlorine-cloudy eyes and a self-satisfied air.
Did it pay off? Yes it did. For the past thirty-eight years I’ve swam, jogged and power-walked on a treadmill. Now I’m retired and have time, I do a ballet routine every morning and can hold a developpe well above ninety degrees. Trust me, you don’t know you’re alive until you’ve held a developpe that high for at least twenty seconds!
All this has ensured that I am the same size now as I was when I was eighteen. Yet truthfully, the only thing Mick Jagger and I have in common is a determination to stay on our feet, (because we’re well past it chronologically). I’m not crowing about this achievement. Sure I give myself a pat on the back for being so single-minded about keeping fit. But when I think back to the days when it all started, and how difficult it was to get it all into my schedule, I completely understand how hard it is for the younger, movers and shakers out there to be doing the same.
Being overweight and under-fit sucks. But getting up each morning and working out before work sucks too. So, when I hear that song, Move Like Jagger, my cynical side takes over and I say, ‘Yeah, right, it was easy for him.’