I once had a conversation with a ex-colleague about exercise. My colleague was an enthusiastic member of Run/Walk for Life (RWFL) and she waxed lyrical about how she had started at only five minutes of walking and had lost something like fifteen kilograms. She glossed over the details about what happened after those first five minutes. Or perhaps I chose to ignore the rest of the story. Either way, the idea of doing exercise for only five minutes intrigued me. Even I could walk for five minutes. But even though I figured I could manage five minutes of exercise, I never really did anything about following up on the idea.
Well, not for the next ten years, anyway.
Fast forward to January 2014. I had heard via the social media grapevine that a new Run/Walk For Life group was starting up at a primary school just a few kilometres from my home. My friend Jeanette was planning to join and I toyed with the idea of joining too. I looked into the meeting times and as luck would have it, it suited my schedule perfectly. I followed the Facebook updates and saw all the new members joining. Still I procrastinated.
Finally, one Friday evening in March, during a conversation with Jeanette I committed to joining. I told Jeanette that I would see her at the session the following morning. When I arrived, full of nerves, René, the friendly group manager gave me a quick rundown of how the programme works.
We then started with a warm up exercise session which lasted between ten and fifteen minutes. After that, a warm up walking lap. I was then to do ten minutes of brisk walking, followed by a slower cool down lap. My ex-colleague did not mention anything about vigorous warm up exercises and warm up and cool down laps. She said five minutes of walking… five minutes.
I couldn’t exactly quit before I began so I lumbered through the lunges and star jumps, puffed through the warm up lap and panted through the ten minute walk. I breathed a very exhausted sigh of relief when the whistle blew for my cool down lap.
This was not quite what I had imagined but I was there and I managed… but only just. I promised I would go back the following Tuesday. Amazingly, I did.