Core Strength


In my particular Hampshire market town there has been a sudden and very visible outbreak of severe ……fitness. It’s everywhere! No matter how early one rises you can bet your bottom dollar, or just your chubby bottom, that there will be one of those women who has already worked out and is now on her way for vitamin packed green smoothie or at worst herbal tea and granola with yoghurt.

How do they do it I ask myself? Post workout (ah those were the days) I was generally reduced to a sweaty heap with a redness in the face that took some hours to subside. I was at a trough gulping water like a camel about to cross the Sahara.
No this is a new breed of workout woman; they are already a fraction of their birth body weight making a size six look roomy, their dedication means they haven’t eaten a chip since the 90s. They are clad in the very latest styles, everyday a different colour co-ordinated head to toe breathable fitness fashion statement with immaculate hair, make up and jewellery.

Jeepers, what chance do ordinary mortals have clad in last years leggings, which cover enormous pants and an old away strip football shirt that happily conceals a rather grey sports bra.

What’s this Sandra? Do we detect a touch of jealousy?
No! Well yes…I mean no. It’s just they are so bloody perfect! One gets to my age and if you haven’t achieved a marathon or two and are not a size eight then you may as well forget it and revert to the theory that one must either sacrifice face or hips. In other words ‘there are no wrinkles on a balloon’ as my Mum once kindly told me. The older more knackered and fatter version of womanhood simply can’t compete. Or can we….

There was a knock at the door, ‘Sign here please’, said a
young man as he thrust an overly large box at me.
It had arrived!
For everything there is a season as they say, and the days of being seen out in public in anything remotely athletic are long gone and as such I have become a part of an underground movement.

All over Hampshire in converted garages, garden sheds or a corner of the spare room we ordinary women of a certain age have grasped the metal and purchased a ‘Core Strength Machine’, (complete with simple assembly instructions and exercise DVD), Oh yes! We are all doing our triceps, biceps and deep core exercises as instructed by a steroid fed orange American.

My core strength machine is not dissimilar to a giant hole punch in shape, once you have managed to get onto the floor you sit with your back against the bar and lean back as part of your ‘sit up’ exercise. The bar supports you as you do so and your core and pelvic floor (mine is more like a pelvic shag pile carpet) resist as you slowly rise back up with hands clasped behind your head.

One can tighten a gadget at the side to increase the resistance of the backward movement, a word of caution though, I started off at the highest setting and very nearly catapulted myself across the room on the way back up. Imagine the thud against the window and my face slowly sliding down- what a treat for the neighbours, ‘I see Sandra’s doing her core strengthening again’.

Of course there is a reason why those fitness females look so pert and perfect, it’s called dedication, hours and hours they spend working out. My resolve is weak, and my core strength is not all it should be. Now the machine resides in a cupboard as I was fed up with stubbing my toe on it.

Will I get my core up to strength? Starting again this week!

Sandra Pagan