I do not particularly look forward to exercising. I try to make myself do it semi-regularly because I know it’s good for me, I like feeling healthy rather than lethargic, and it can, occassionally – ┬álike that run in Denmark last month when the sun was coming up over mist-laden fields – be quite enjoyable.

But not since my teenage years taking ballet and jazz classes three or four times a week have I really looked forward to exercising. In Florida, we woke up early three mornings a week to beat the crazy heat and humidity to run loops of our little retired community. But then we got to California, and I didn’t have much to do during the day, and no one to hang out with.

Searching google maps for things to do nearby that didn’t involve eating, I discovered a fitness studio called Time 2 Shine, that ran pilates classes. Wanting something to do, I signed up for my free introductory class and loved it so much that I kept going three times a week. I’d even reschedule anything else that came up to fit in around my classes.

I loved it because I could feel I was working every muscle in my body hard, but it didn’t feel like hard work. I mean, those ladies worked me hard until I was shaking with the effort, but I enjoyed it. And after three or four weeks of those three classes a week, my muscles were all tighter and stronger and for the very first time in my whole life I was actually just a little bit proud of my upper arms. I know, miracle of miracles.

I’ve been missing it since we got back from the US but am already looking up studios in Luxembourg so I can get back that healthy, strong feeling. I might not be especially athletic, but there is nothing like the feeling of being able to climb the two floors to your apartment with the shopping without feeling like you’re going to drop dead at any moment…