The Knot

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Incidental Workout

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t wish that my legs were longer. I have spent the past 30-odd years disguising them or dressing them up to elongate. It’s one of the reasons that I am rarely seen in public in flats. Elle Macpherson was my inspiration for this strategy. At the height of her modeling career Elle revealed her bum was her least favourite body part. She had cleverly ensured that very few photos were taken of her from behind during her career. And if they were, you’ll notice that a sarong or sweater was tied around her waist.

Call it mid-life crisis (or coercion by a girlfriend), but when I turned 45 I decided it was now or never for my legs. Placing them on a stretching rack would have been my first choice had it been an option. If I couldn’t make them longer, I’d have to make them leaner so they looked longer. I had the choice of joining a gym, engaging a fitness trainer or going for a walk. A quick opportunity cost analysis resulted in three strikes. I have things to do, places to go, people to mother. I actually don’t have time in my day for an activity entirely focused on me. If I have a facial, a manicure or a coffee, then I am generally in business mode at the time.

About six months ago I offered to swap parking spots with one of my managers as she often needed to leave quickly to collect her child from daycare. It was win-win, given my determination to sort out my legs without having to devote time to doing so. My original parking spot was close to the office. Hers was on the other side of the corporate park and involved about 100 stairs. Most people thought I was crazy, and I’ll admit that the first few weeks were tough as the hike from the parking spot to my office in four-inch heels was a mental and physical challenge. But within weeks I started to notice a positive impact on my legs. They didn’t start to grow (unfortunately 165cm is my lot in life), but they did begin to firm up and trim down. Three months into my new fitness regime and I’d lost a couple of centimetres around my thighs. Six months later and we’re talking thighs that can take me back to my youth (almost). The overall condition of my legs has improved, which is just as well as I’ve also decided that, mid-life, its OK to bare my knees, get back into a bikini and choose the shorty shorts.
And now I wear heels just for the height ;).