If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that I do – sort of – go to the gym. I’ve been plugging away for a year or so now, although recently, I’ve discovered I can prop my kindle on the treadmill to snatch some reading time while strolling (briskly).
Whenever I come to England, I always imagine myself running outdoors instead – and, again, I do mean ‘running’ in the loosest sense of the word. My parents live a stone’s throw away from the local park, and gently jogging a lap or two around the cricket pitch, under the ever-changing sky with birds chirruping and dogs chasing sticks, sounds like the perfect antidote to the sterile gym.
Except it was too hot. Even at 7pm. My runs turned into a sweaty limp, with me practically staggering past gangs of scantily clad teenagers drinking alcopops and frisky lovers mauling each other in full view, hoping no one would laugh at my excuse of a jog or hear me panting.
Parklife in the UK, I remembered, is dotted with scenes and characters you just never see in the UAE. “Smile love – might never happen,” quipped a Heineken-drinking, paper-bag carrying fella the other day.
All this I actually find really fascinating – and the scenery IS nice – but then my mum told me that the leisure centre had been revamped and the new gym was now very state-of-the-art.
I took a look. I was seriously impressed. There were brand-new machines and contraptions I could only imagine were used to train astronauts, rows of bikes, and treadmills with large, multi-media screens (plus the all-important ledge for my kindle). The Olympic legacy was alive and well – with air conditioning and Costa Coffee next door!
So, now I have a four-week summer membership and I’m back exercising in the gym, keeping an eye on the calorie-count so I can whoop with joy when I’ve burnt off an apple.