Painful parallel universe of the exercise class

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Doing an exercise class has more in common with going to a nightclub in the 1990s than you might think.

There’s the ear-splitting trance music, there’s lots and lots of sweating and there’s a super-fit woman with a washboard stomach dressed in Lycra.

Only now she’s not gyrating on a podium and reaching for the lasers, she’s standing at the front telling you what to do in a very loud voice.

Five minutes in and it was quite enjoyable.

After 15 minutes it felt like my heart had stopped beating and, 10 minutes before the end, everything went a bit grey and there was a high-pitched ringing in my ears.

Having said that, in a perverse kind of way it was great.

The best two things were after about 40 minutes when it stopped, and then having a lie down and a stretch.

It’s weird, because in day-to-day life if someone bellowed at you in the street that you weren’t trying hard enough there’d be an incident to which the police were called and would end with an appearance before some magistrates to face a charge of common assault.

At work, you wouldn’t let the person who owned the company talk to you like that.

But in the parallel universe of an exercise class you pay for the privilege, then at the end say “thank you very much and see you next week”.

Thanks to playing football since childhood and training for and running three half-marathons well into my 40s, my knees have all the power and strength of a pebble in an empty can of Coca-Cola.

The spirit is willing but the body says “absolutely not”.

Exercise options are running out.

When I told our kids I was going to a class, daughter #2 actually snorted with laughter.

But they were laughing on the other side of their faces when I told them that it started early and they’d be walking to school that day.

Daughter #1 hasn’t listened to a word I say since 2005 but she heard that alright.

The poor little mites had to walk half a mile in the sunshine while carrying their own bags.

There was so much outrage I wouldn’t be surprised if it trended on Twitter and Bono wrote a song about it.

• Rachel Stansfield is away