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Smallville: A Healthy Outlook

During a wekend break at a holiday centre Peter B Farrell mounts an eercise bike to become a gym Lance Armstrong.

A pride of lions, a plethora of junk mail; I ruminated and decided a ‘burgeoning of appointments’ would describe my predicament.

Wednesday morning hospital, Friday midday dentist for a filling and then straight off for an offer we couldn’t refuse. My wife and I would be travelling to the coast to enjoy a few days at a Holiday Complex. Later I had an appointment with the nurse for an annual check up at the Well-man clinic.

I was apprehensive about the hospital appointment, what had been described months ago by my doctor as an age mark, now needed minor surgery.

Melody Sacramento. I read the nametag and was tempted to offer my appreciation, but thought better of it. The young nurse, who was perhaps from the Philippines or Mexico, led me to the operating theatre. A minor procedure was about to be performed on my leg, the removal of a lesion.

The surgeon quickly completed his operation, a successful outcome and I was elated at his diagnosis.

“Make an appointment at your surgery to have the stitches removed in two weeks.” I was whisked out and back in the bus queue in no time at all. Arriving home I told my wife the good news, despite having racked up yet another appointment.

On the Friday, after first packing for the weekend and preparing for a quick getaway, I made my way to the dental surgery.

“Sorry about this, staff illness.” My filling would have to wait, but I could see the dental hygenist instead, have a scale and polish and see the dentist the following week. I readily agreed, I was in no pain and it would put off the drilling and it’s after effects. I had my treatment and after a quick rinse I was heading for the car park.

“Thank goodness this week’s over.” We were travelling to the holiday centre and looking forward to a relaxing weekend. We usually took full advantage of the leisure facilities available, as well as the cabaret and ballroom dancing. Being an early riser, I usually put in a vigorous half an hour in the swimming pool to alleviate any feelings of guilt before eating a hearty breakfast, but not this time because of the stitches.

“Gym induction 4 pm.” On arrival I noticed an addition to the program. The leisure facilities had been improved to include a fully equipped gymnasium and all guests could make full use of the wide range of equipment available. I reasoned an early morning gym session would compensate for missing the swimming.

After signing the obligatory disclaimer for injury, damage, fire, flood and theft, the Leisure suite attendant - a young body builder -and his nubile companion gave me a demonstration on a whole range of rowing machines, static cycles and treadmills. Bizarrely an image of Oscar Wilde in Reading Jail came to mind.

The disclaimer obviously covered damage to eardrums, given the noise level from a huge video screen blasting out Rap, Garage and Grunge. Whatever happened to Acid House? Hopefully a lot, and none of it painless.

“You‘ll also need the code to open the security door” shouted the leisure suite attendant. Yet another set of numbers and letters to remember, but I wrote them down just in case.

“Time you were out and about.” It was 7.30 the following morning and my wife reminded me that I should be making my way to the gymnasium if I was to have a work-out before breakfast.

After breaking the security code I was greeted by the sight of a line of toiling bodies pounding treadmills, thrashing cycle pedals and rowing to nowhere. The noise level from the video screen precluded any conversation and not to be outdone I occupied a treadmill, pressed the start button and headed off on a 5000-metre fitness test.

“Enter age.” Too late, by the time I had found where to enter 7...

”Enter weight.” It was in Kilos, what is eleven sto...

“Enter Level.” I’ll press…

“Choose program.” Choice of Fat-burn, Cardio…

“Enter pulse.” How? Where is it, I felt…

“Start again.” A series of flashing red warning lights from the on-board computer indicated I should have had all this vital information at the ready.

I ignored the instructions and aware that my training companions were too preoccupied with the video screen to notice, I matched them stride for stride; obviously their particular program was uphill all the way. After about twenty minutes I pushed the stop button; according to the illuminated monitor I had used up 47 calories, which hardly warranted a hearty breakfast and I decided a short burst on the cycle was called for. Ignoring all instructions regarding weight, age and fitness, I pounded away for ten minutes imagining I was Lance Armstrong going over the top of Cap Vendou.

“How did it go?” I affirmed to my wife that it couldn’t compare with swimming - all this sweat - but I would persevere with the early morning exercise for the rest of the weekend. The biggest effort was overcoming the sheer boredom of it all.

Following our weekend away, I combined my appointments with the nurse and had the stitches removed with the annual check up.

“Your weight is fine and you have the blood pressure of a 20 year old. I think I‘ll try the green tea.” The nurse was suitably impressed and decided my strong recommendation for green tea as the cure for everything was worth pursuing.

On the way home, I paused to look in the sports shop window.

Many features including:
Magnetic brake system
New training computer with pulse meter hand sensors
Controlled workout information
Flywheel approx 8kg

The sporty exercise cycle was a snip at £279.99 but not for me; I had an appointment with the dentist.

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