Exercise is very much trend led. We know that, don’t we?
The human body doesn’t change, it’s still disappointingly stone age in all its manifestations, but the ways in which we try to improve its appearance are enough to put anyone in a spin.
Speaking of which –have you tried it?
Spinning happens on what used to be called an exercise bike, until someone put lots of them in the one room, and then they became funky pieces of kit.
One day they were only fit to be used as emergency clothes airers, draped in the nation’s towels and tights, the next they were part of a fitness revolution.
There have been many such success stories. Leg warmers were ugly things worn backstage by dancers to stop their muscles seizing up, until Jane Fonda and the Kids from Fame got hold of them. Teamed with a leotard and a pair of stilettos they became the exercise look to die for – and women practically did because a high heel and a high impact aerobic move are dangerous bedfellows.
Yoga was something only Indian men did until we western women discovered stretch leggings and our inner warriors one, two and three.
But now, at a frankly unseasonal time of year, has come the latest trend to crest the exercise wave: naked exercise.
I know, gives me goosebumps too. But there it is. What was once just the outlandish posturing of hedonists in hot climates has reached our shores. Admittedly, it’s mainly stuck in that London so far but, you know, what starts in London ends up in Leeds.
So, how are you with nakedness? Me, I’m not good. I prefer to be well buttoned up at all times.
The first time I saw a naked-save-for-a-flip-flop foot in an office setting I practically fainted with the shock.
We Seventies girls were brought up to keep our feet covered, thank you very much, unless we were actually standing on the sands of Bridlington beach. You have to remember this was a time before central heating was standard. No one was ever naked.
But that’s life for you, full of shocking twists and turns, and unexpected nakedness, starting with the feet and working upwards.
Naked bike riding is the one with most fans so far. There is an annual World Naked Bike Ride in which tens of thousands of riders take part, across hundreds of cities. Dress code: “As bare as you dare.”
You may have managed to avert your eyes so far, but I assure you it is a real thing, held as a protest against our car culture. No, I don’t get it either.
For those who need their nakedness less bike-based, the naked yoga movement is a growing phenomenon. It doesn’t have any physical benefits but apparently it increases your body confidence no end. I’m going to just leave that there because I don’t know what else to say apart from HAVE YOU SEEN SOME OF THOSE YOGA POSTURES? Unthinkable.
There are naked gym sessions now on offer too and here, at last, there is the added bonus of a little historical back-up. The word “gym” comes from the ancient Greek “gymnasion” which meant a school for naked exercise, and the Olympians of Ancient Greece won their glory wearing nothing more than a pot of grease, to keep the dust off.
None of which helps. I’m a long way from comfortable with nakedness, and I do not believe that being naked is what nature intended for us. If nature had intended us to be naked we would have been provided with a tough, waterproof covering: a lovely, shiny pelt; some thick, warm fur; a nice bit of wool – cashmere would have been nice.
Anything but this vulnerable, thin, covering we call skin. Say what you like, you naturists, this stuff needs protection.
So I won’t be doing naked exercise But don’t worry about me, I’m perfectly happy in my own skin – I just need it to be covered by several layers of man-made fibre.
‘Tis the season for bad hair
It’s the season when we women try to ... book an appointment with our hairdresser.
At no other time of year is he or she so popular.
Months will go by when we don’t give them a thought, then December arrives and only Santa is busier.
It’s the photographs, isn’t it? Horrified by the thought of our roots, our frizz, our split ends and our grown-out fringes being captured and plastered all over social media we beg for an appointment.
Because, although most of us have learned by now that we should love our curves, we still think it’s okay to hate our hair.
According to recent research, a quarter of us would rather give up alcohol than give up our hair straighteners, which is a bold shout at this particular time.
We all think our friends have lovely hair but describe our own as being flat, frizzy, thin, dull, lifeless and generally ratty.
The hair we currently admire adorns the head of French women. They have a cool, undone look which we envy hopelessly and helplessly from across the water.
They manage to look as if they have made little effort, and the shock news is that is because they haven’t.
French women wash their hair less often than we do, and visit their hairdresser less often too.
Maybe time to stop begging for that appointment.
Sad of losing a best friend
The downside of a long life is that you outlive your friends
So I feel sad for the Queen that her good friend and cousin Margaret Rhodes has died, aged 91.
Not only were they almost the same age but they grew up together, meaning they had that special close bond which comes of not having to explain a thing, because the other person already knows and understands.
The Queen has a large family and many roles but the opportunities to just be herself will be few.
With her friend Margaret she did not have to offer anything. Pictures of them show two women perfectly at ease with each other.
Margaret appeared to be sensible, brisk and no-nonsense – an unroyal version of the Queen herself.
They were lucky to have had each other for so long, but there must be few people left now with whom the Queen can feel so comfortable.