With these long summer days comes the enchanting prospect of picnics in Richmond Park, boat trips with friends and other sun-kissed rewards after months of complaint. And here comes the sigh. Because it also means my annual avowal to take control of my fitness campaign comes and goes, once again unhonoured.
Why the failure? Because I'm too disorganised to put it on the schedule of a busy day. Between a full day at work, evening press screenings and keeping up with friends, the promised hour in the gym is always the thing that somehow falls off the list.
But not this year! (Possibly). Why so? Because I'm briefed with putting to the test some '10 Minute Solutions' - a set of DVDs offering pocket-sized workouts concentrating on specific areas of the body, plus some more general, all-over workouts. In theory, perfect!
I'm a bit bemused, though. Can 10 minutes of exercise really achieve anything, other than a false sense of doing some exercise, and so actually prevent me improving my fitness, in a roundabout way? Ok, going in …
From the collection of more than 30 titles, do I go for something Zennish? Something comprehensively dedicated to mental and physical well-being? Sorry, vanity calls. Paw goes straight to 'Belly, Butt and Thigh Blasters' and off we go.
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Each DVD in the series has an introduction and about five different workouts to choose from (or you can do them all in one go, show-off.) I opt for 'Strong and Slim Thighs' and hit the stopwatch.
These are all exercises approximating to those in the dim 'n' distant memory bank of my Pilates/aerobics class youth - but this being the modern age, you need to get hold of one of those rubber loop things to go round the legs to increase resistance.
Nothing achievable in 10 minutes? Not on your nelly. I'm exhausted, but willing to have another go. 'Trim and Toned Tummy' looks good, by which I mean the picture on the menu has the instructor lying down. It's just you and her in each of these workouts, by the way, like having your own personal bootcamper.
Another 10 minutes later, and I'm pouring with sweat. Alive with lactic acid. And pain. The good news is the discs don't lie. It's exactly 600 seconds later when it's all over, and I'm getting that lovely, American 'give yourself a pat on the back' speech from the horribly smiling, tanned and toned trainer.
Time to try another disc… What else have we got here? Ooh, Hot Body Boot Camp, which offers 'Rock Bottom Sculpts and Calorie Blasting Drills'. Okay, let's not get carried away on the first day.
Two weeks have passed now, and I've managed to squeeze a 10-minute session at each end of the day. I couldn't entirely move around freely the day after my debut, so there's definitely something going on. And these little bite-sized chunks are inspiring me to go and do, dare I say it, a full-size grown-up class one of these days. But in the meantime, 20 minutes is surely enough to be going on with…
You can pick these discs up for approximately between £5 and £10 each, depending on the workout, or, for the keenies, they're available in various box-set collections. More information here
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