Middle-Aged Spread

October 31, 2007 at 12:43 pm 6 comments


Middle Aged Spread

I am feeling much better about myself today. Recently I have been a little perturbed about the onset of “middle-aged spread”. Love handles. My wife tells me that I am doing very well for my age. But, we are soon to embark on a holiday to Thailand, which will require me to expose my pink and less-than-perfectly toned body to the scrutiny of fellow globe trotters. To be honest, I could do with losing a pound or two. Or three. Or four.But, thankfully, on the way into work yesterday morning, while I was sat frustrated in a queue of traffic for fifty minutes due to the failure of traffic lights at roadworks, I was listening to an illuminating report on the Radio 5 Today Programme. It was discussing the link between obesity and exercise. Or more accurately, the link between obesity and the lack of exercise. And, do you know what? There isn’t one!

That’s great news. It makes me feel far less guilty about my current lack of exercise. According to some recent scientific study the amount of exercise that children undertake is genetically set. It has nothing to do with access to sports facilities. The implication is that your body knows how much exercise you need. It is self-regulating. Yeah right….

All I know is that kids today get less exercise than kids twenty years ago. Is that evolution? I suspect not.

I used to walk to Infant and Junior School. A four-mile round trip. I used to walk to the bus stop en route to Grammar School. A mile or so. I played football, or cricket, or murder ball, or had a fight, every school break. We had two hour-long PE sessions each week. We had an afternoon of Games (football, cricket, athletics, or cross-country depending upon the season and the weather). And these were competitive games! It was never just good enough “to take part” for my generation. I played football and cricket for the school, and competed in athletics, gymnastics, basketball and table tennis in House Competitions. I played in the national schoolboy’s cricket final (and lost) at the age of 16. I played badminton and lifted weights in lunchtimes.

Away from school, I roamed my ‘hood on my bike. I would cycle for miles. My cousin, Vince and I would cycle from Birmingham to Warrington to visit a great aunt, at least once a year. We went to the park. We played ball. We walked everywhere. And, when it rained we ran.

It doesn’t seem to be the same today. Kids are delivered to and collected from the school gate by parents in Chelsea Tractors. F*ck the environment! Convenience rules. Me, me, me. Kids are not allowed to play out due to concerns about their personal security, or, to stop them getting access to drink, drugs or sex. School games are largely no longer competitive. Schools are paranoid about getting sued if a child is injured or as a result of the psychological trauma of being labelled a failure. Whatever happened to fun? Whatever happened to winning?

To be honest, I have let my fitness regime slip since school. I did play football at University. I rowed, and I played the occasional game of squash. But, to be honest, my recreation time at Oxford did become more sedentary – croquet, darts, and drinking! After Uni, I played an occasional game of squash and for a couple of years, I played five-a-side football and participated in an indoor cricket league. But, I also discovered, whisky, red wine, and my sofa.

There have been only sporadic attempts at a fitness regime in recent years. I frequently hide behind the fact that most of my sporting prowess of yester-years was in the field of team sports. Occasionally, however, I have been cajoled into the odd game of squash, the odd mile or two of running (I don’t jog! I used to do cross-country at school after all), and even Tai Chi. The Tai Chi lasted only the one week actually. It was something that C and I were trying out as a common interest but the timing was inconvenient, the venue less than salubrious and the rest of the group looked as if they had just come straight from A&E or the geriatric ward. So now, my athletic life consists of one regular weekend of torture/hiking with the lads from Oxford and, more typically, a regular weekly forced march across Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam!

My best mates and C pooled together last year to buy me a bike for my 40th birthday. My mates all have young families which keep them fit. I think they were worried about me. I will dig it out of the garage after I get back from my hols. The annual Lads Walk is planned at the end of April, so I’ll have to get some miles in.

In the meantime, it’s lunchtime!




Entry filed under: childhood memories, Health, humour, middleman, Oxford, rant, School. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

The History Boys Sheep To The Slaughter

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rhea  |  December 5, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I saw a friend recently I had not seen in a while and I was, well, shocked at the spread on her. Cripes. I am 49 and in pretty good shape. Hope I can stay that way.


  • 2. Middleman  |  December 6, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks for the comment Rhea. I am 42 and not too unhappy with my shape. Mind you I am in the States at the moment, so there are a lot of examples out there that make me look positively thin!


  • 3. Goolvespoorse  |  February 27, 2008 at 3:17 pm

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  • 4. johnhauge  |  August 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    thanks for dropping by. i hope you read again. nice blog.


  • 5. junior  |  October 31, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    oh yes i submit that your body is really cool


  • 6. motohero  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Haha, this was a fun read! I I found it funny when you mention that, “According to some recent scientific study the amount of exercise that children undertake is genetically set. It has nothing to do with access to sports facilities. The implication is that your body knows how much exercise you need. It is self-regulating. Yeah right….” Sure, I’ll buy that some of our tendencies are genetic, but it isn’t limited to what genetics have predetermined. So, how old are you at this point anyway? 42. I’m only 25, but I still think about what gravity and the future holds for this body!



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