I’ve continued to try to breathe some life into my post-Christmas doldrums with a mixture of soft fabrics, carbohydrates, and most importantly enforced exercise. On these darkest of days, there’s a perverse but sometimes epiphanic pleasure in jogging round the park as the dawn starts to peep through the clouds; less enjoyable has been the evening slog around the same park, dodging the dog “walkers” and others who’ll be damned if they’ll give anyone space to pass on the footpath.
When I used to commute to and from a workplace, getting my daily cardiovasculars in was trivial: one might even argue that the elevation of heartrate caused by inevitable confrontation with bad drivers was a bonus; but they made the same health claims about smoking, once.
Now, though, it’s all I can do to keep pace with the vague recommendation I heard somewhere, of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. I was topping 300 last year; since going freelance I’ve been doing exerciser’s maths every week. One jog is forty minutes. A loop through Leafield, an hour. Oxford and back: two and a bit. Jog again. Is that enough? Tot it up. Add ten minutes for that trip to the shops. What about now?
Not that I don’t enjoy it on one level. The jogging complements my otherwise sedentary day, and means – as long as I don’t do it after 5pm – I get that blast of sunlight into my brain that I’m often unwittingly desperate for, that switch flicking in the pineal, that leap of hope that it might not be so awful after all, that January might one day come to an end, and we might all be OK; just maybe….