Jog Off

Stacy in Pittsburgh sends me a link in the manner of ‘I saw this and thought of you’:

Exercises For Gentlemen: 50 Exercises To Do With Your Suit On

Originally published 1908, now reprinted. Reviewed by the New Yorker here.

“Not that this is a hint. ¬†You appear to be in good shape.”

I’m pushing it, I have to admit. My days of eating precisely whatever I like are long gone. I did dally with jogging a few years ago, but abandoned it for aesthetic reasons: I looked ridiculous. I made one enquiry at the local gym, was taken aside and presented with (a) the information that I have to sign up with a personal trainer, and (b) the cost, and, well, legged it.

I also realised you can get more or less get the exercise you need if you walk briskly for an hour or so every day, ideally via the steep incline of Highgate Hill. On top of which, I always try to take the stairs instead of using lifts. And London is so good for walking. Soho in particular favours the walker: all those little streets and no buses.

I treat the London Library as my all-in-one gym, with its labyrinthine corridors and stairs. You pay a subscription and get access to miles of rare and lesser-known books, all to browse and to borrow, all on open access shelves. Serendipity is a work-out, too. In addition to all that exercise for the mind and legs, there’s the chance of spotting Robert Pattinson. Or Natascha McElhone. Or Alan Bennett. Or, let’s face it, the chance for them to spot me.