There were some brave people in the gym this morning. One man was lying almost vertically, head back, on a kind of black leather torture machine doing ‘roll-ups’, using his stomach muscles to come up and touch his toes. Another was dangling from an overhead bar, pulling himself up to almost hip level just using his arms. Most of the women seemed to be doing sensible things, I thought, till I heard what seemed to be an almighty fight at one end of the gym, with noise and sounds of crashing and grunts and raucous shouting. It sounded like a gang fight, but turned out to be the spinning class, a bunch of (mainly) women on fixed bikes cycling as though their lives depended on it, urged on by a fearsome young lady on a bike facing them at the front, screaming instructions over martial music.
Is this really the right place for me, I wondered, turning my eyes to the TV screen facing the row of treadmills. And wonders – there were four older folk, in their seventies and eighties, enjoying a game of Badminton, or something that looked like it except the net was lower. It definitely wasn’t tennis. They weren’t being screamed at and were obviously enjoying themselves.
Turns out it’s something called Pickleball, a mixture of Badminton, tennis and table tennis. It has its origins in America and is growing in popularity here in the UK – and you can win medals whether you are 18 or 80!
What a great activity! Recent studies are showing the benefits of exercise in preventing all kinds of diseases, including dementia.
Go older folks – Go! You can see more about it here –