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Man cannot live on a diet of 'unlimited exercise' alone

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Though I voted for this government, there is a whiff of sweat-smelling opiate of the masses in this new hyping of exercise Credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Whoever could have dreamed that our plucky island race would have a problem with liberty! According to the first international study into fear of Covid-19, we Brits are displaying the highest levels of concern about the virus538prom精品视频在线播放 - due, they say, to our strong sense of social responsibility.

Of course, the usual suspects will now be muttering about the singular docility of the British, but if we’d scored on the lowest fear quotient, they’d be muttering about our singular selfishness. There is simply no pleasing the type for whom, as George Orwell wrote: ‘There is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman’; the intellectuals who “would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during God save the King than of stealing from a poor box.”

538prom精品视频在线播放It certainly makes sense that a populace which fetishises queueing and deifies the NHS would be more caring than nations where it is every trigger-happy citizen for himself.

Still, you can have too much of a goody-goody thing and the pearl-clutching which greeted the slight easing of the lockdown last week was amusing and alarming in equal measure.

538prom精品视频在线播放I do hope that all those people who think they’re too special to return to work haven’t been taking out their rubbish or going to the shops for the past two months. Surely no one would be so keen to reveal himself as a hypocrite, happy for others to risk their health for his comfort but willing to go to any lengths to protect his own precious hide?

Under lockdown, perhaps the one thing we are all meant to agree on is the virtue of physical activity, hence last week’s rather vulgar Government decree. From this Wednesday we may fill our boots - or rather trainers - with ‘unlimited exercise.’ The downside is that many of those who will take advantage of this offer will be drawn from the hideous subsection of male joggers and cyclists who - deprived of the chance to menace women in bars - can now do it (sober) in parks.

Though I voted for this government and believe much of the criticism to be merely the latest bout of toy-chucking from a group still struggling to come to terms with Brexit and/or Corbyn losing, there is a whiff of sweat-smelling opiate of the masses in this new hyping of exercise. Having shut up her charges for months and made them fat on purpose, Nanny now wants them back at work so must make them fit for purpose.

538prom精品视频在线播放I can see both sides, having for most of my life taken inspiration from the words of Winston Churchill: “Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.” Then, last autumn, I joined a gym, hired a personal trainer - and absolutely loved it. At the age of 60 I was (finally!) getting into shape. And then the lockdown happened.

I miss it of course, but not enough to exercise alone. As it is with everything I do, it was the social aspect I enjoyed most, and jumping around by myself would strike me as ludicrous.

538prom精品视频在线播放Exercise may well cheer some people up, but these are generally those who lack an inner life of their own. Perhaps if they had one, then reading a book would work just as well - with the added benefit, never to be sniffed at, of making them entertaining company.

We’re always hearing that exercise is good for the brain but if that were true, then personal trainers would be our greatest wits, instead of unfit drunkards, from Oscar Wilde to Christopher Hitchens to me.

Personally, I don’t believe we’ll be a civilised society until the churches and the pubs are open once more. Exercise is optimistic but futile; it can postpone death but never defy it. Faith and drinking are fatalistic but hopeful; the only certainty is death and we can either embrace the idea of an afterlife or anaesthetise ourselves so that our mortality no longer bothers us.

Luckily, I like to do both and have thus far had a splendid lockdown. But to do them both once more with like-minded companions will give me an endorphin rush, the like of which the blank-eyed joggers on their road to nowhere can only dream.

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