Lucy Mangan bows out

I was halfway through giving my latest acquisition - a forty quid indoor trampoline, or "trampette" as I am told it is slightly racily known in the interior exercise trade - a test run and noting how bouncing up and down causes one to grin in the same inane but unstoppable manner as being in the wave machine bit of a swimming pool does, when I got the news that this was to be my last fitness column. My grin lessened not. It might even - who's to say? - have widened ever so slightly.

For this is what I have gleaned from my many samplings from the smorgasbord of healthful pursuits that is arrayed before us in these multi-optional times:

1. Exercise is boring. Doesn't matter what you're doing, where you're doing it or who you're doing it with. It is wretchedly, unspeakably boring.

2. It is uncomfortable. You sweat, you chafe, you roast or you freeze. If the gym's air conditioning is feeling whimsical, you can do all four.

3. It redefines the notion of deferred gratification. In return for hours and hours of your valuable time and effort, you may, months and months later, feel slightly better. Or not. Well, whoop-di-doo and make mine an extra spinning class with a low-GI cherry on top.

4. You stop grinning after about 14 bounces on a mini-trampoline because your calves explode, scattering gastrocnemii across a large area.

5. It is good to know that the gastrocnemius is one of the calf muscles, but I probably shouldn't use it in public until I am entirely sure of the plural.

Actually, it hasn't been all bad. I don't mind cycling - although still only round the park as my mum has made me promise that I won't go on roads ("You're as much of an idiot now as you were when you were 10") - and aquaerobics is bearable, if only because one looks so toned when wet.

And, if I may say so, it has been a pleasure corresponding with readers. Thank you for your encouragement in many cases and the sharing of woes in many others. As they say, a trouble shared is a trouble halved, although of course it's a pity that the oft-forgotten rest of the saying is "except when the trouble is orange-peel thighs and a bloodstream that is mostly caffeine and saturated fats." Ah well. Better keep on bouncing.

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