We don’t have a good record with exercise equipment. The road to heaven – or in our case, the attic – is paved with various objects made of moulded plastic and rubber, bought with good intentions.

Up until recently, a significant area of the spare room was taken up with an exercise bike. It sat there, wearing a lugubrious and judgemental expression, like Eeyore in the corner. “Another day and no one comes to visit me. That’s ok. I expected that. I’m an exercise bike”  said the Body Sculpture BC 6910P a little sadly.

Now we’ve got a loan of a new yoke; rectangular in shape about the size of a small coffee table and made of exercise equipment-grey. It’s one of these vibrating platform things. You just stand on it and it jiggles underneath you so that, while you’re watching Revenge on the laptop, it turns you into Daniel Grayson. This is what’s known as passive exercise. This should suit me fine as someone who still believes in the literal meaning of the phrase ‘self-cleaning oven’.

And yet when I arrived home and saw it there in the sitting room I regarded it coldly. Suspicious of its motives as if it were a shyster brother in-law trying to shake us down for cash for an ‘investment opportunity’. To say it’s disrupting the zen of the room is an understatement. It’s making pure feng shite of it. It’s my wife’s idea. But I don’t say too much. A respectable percentage of my wife’s ideas turn out to be good ones so I don’t want to leave any hostages to fortune in case I have to jump on the bandwagon – or vibrating platform – later.

My self-improvement track record is even poorer. I once thought that a gym-ball was the answer to all our questions. Now it’s the answer to the question – why don’t we have any room in the house? I’m also still trying to recover in the polls after a Dead Sea Salts incident when a mysterious Jordanian woman convinced me to buy exfoliating scrub. To this day I don’t know how it happened. Maybe she caught me at a vulnerable point. Either way the rusting jar of gel and grit is now the single oldest object in our bathroom.

The need for this Vibromatic Muscle Acceleratron, or whatever it’s called, came from astronauts to allow them to exercise in confined areas and maintain their muscle-tone and bone density in space. Although you would think they had all the room the needed in the vast expanse of space, but if it’s good enough for Chris Hadfield it’s good enough for me.

 “Give it a go anyway”  My wife interrupts my mental image of a vibrating commander. I climb aboard the ShudderTec 7 and she turns the dial up.  “Well?” she asks.

“Nn-o-tt ss-uu-rr-e ii-ff ii-tt ii-ss ww-o-rr-kk-ii-nn-gg bb-uu-tt ii-tt-ss aa ll-oo-tt mm-oo-rr-ee ff-uu-nn tthh-aa-nn jj-oo-gg-ii-nn-gg”

This article was first published in the Irish Examiner on July 29th, 2013

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