In the ’90s, exercise was a dirty word for me. Whether it was Dionne shirking tennis in Clueless, or Kate Moss’ cigarette, drugs and whisky diet, it seemed like purveyors of cool would do anything they could to avoid physical exertion. (Apart from sex, of course.) Jocks were ridiculed on screen. And gum-shield-yielding sports teachers were the enemy. To me, the super fit people were goody two shoes’ who probably chose water over wine and didn’t have much fun on the weekends.
But somewhere between a McDonald’s chicken sandwich and a JD and coke, things have shifted. Today being fit has sort of become, well, cool. It turns out exercising improves your sex life, settles sleeping patterns, jump starts your endorphins and generally makes you a happier person. Yes really we knew this all along; but now, everyone’s wising up.
Fashion is on board. Stella McCartney designed the Olympics gear and Sports Luxe is storming the catwalks. Film seems to have cottoned on too with Fast Girls, Undefeated and Town of Runners all hitting screens this year. And Olympic fever cemented the idea that being fit is hip: the Olympians are our new heroes and the likes of Victoria Pendleton are gracing lads’ mags and newspapers galore.
Hammered celebs with fags drooping from their lips suddenly look a little bit gross. Instead, it’s the exercise nuts like Miranda Kerr and Gwyneth Paltrow whose limbs we ogle at on Daily Mail Online. The time has come to face facts: being healthy is cool. But for those of us who’ve been allergic to sport for the last decade, the idea of stepping within a mile radius of a treadmill is a hideous one. So, where to start? If up until now your idea of sports trainers has been Converse, here are some easy ways in:
Walk on by
Walking is the exercise virgin’s friend. It’s convenient and anyone can do it. Try exploring your local park for starters (Regents Park or Hampstead Heath are both lush) and then consider a walking event like the MoonWalk. You’ll be getting fit – and raising money for breast cancer – while gazing at the starry midnight skies.
Check out the dance classes at Frame in Shoreditch or Queen’s Park. It doesn’t really feel like exercise when Gaga and Beyonce are involved.
This is exercising, ’90s style. Dust off your old roller blades and join in with a street skating event on Wednesday nights. At London Skate, you’ll go on a 2-hour tour of the capital while marshalls keep things safe, and skaters play Shania Twain on boom boxes to keep you motivated.
Just the ping
Ping-Pong. It’s deceptively a sport, without you really noticing. And with Bounce London – Europe’s first social ping pong club – opening in London in October, now’s the perfect time to start. If you can’t wait till then, you can test your ball skills on a night-out at Earls Court’s latest offering Ping.
Sink or swim
With swimming you don’t get hot and sweaty, plus, it’ll help your mind unwind after a frazzled commute. As well as your local gym, try London Fields Lido. The pool’s outdoors, but it’s heated. Phew.
Tel: 1483 741430
Tel: 020 7033 1855
180-184 Earl’s Court Road
Tel: 020 7370 5358
London Fields Lido
London Fields Westside
Tel: 020 7254 9038
Image by p_a_h courtesy of Flickr