There's a woman who walks laps around my apartment block's shared swimming pool each morning for around 20 minutes.
Every morning she's there, clad in white trainers and Lycra sportswear, walking around and around the pool at a relatively slow pace with a look of concentration on her face, before disappearing inside.
Given that there's clearly not even the slightest hint of exertion displayed, I can only assume she believes that the health benefits and fitness gained from this somewhat gentle stroll are because of its proximity to the pool.
She's not the only one in my building with a rather curious approach to exercise. On the ground floor we have a reasonably well-equipped gym and every morning, just as the pool lady is doing her rounds, a middle-aged gentleman in almost unacceptably small shorts takes to the treadmill for what can only really be described as a relaxed saunter. I'd honestly be surprised if he bothers to turn the machine on.
Now, using the treadmill for a walk is something I've never been able to get my head around. Generally speaking, gyms are sweaty places often filled by vest-wearing guys gurning in mirrors and leaving damp patches on seats.
Why walk in a gym when you can walk outside? Or better still, why not combine a walk with something of practical use, such as going to the supermarket to buy some milk so at least you can have a rewarding cup of tea afterwards?
And, with the beach a mere five minutes away and the temperature at this time of the day by far the most palatable, why our tiny-shorted walker chooses to have his daily stroll in a stuffy, badly lit room is all the more perplexing.
Perhaps, much like the lady of the (temperature-controlled) lake, our man of the treadmill is another believer of fitness-by-proximity: that simply by walking within the gym's "exercising aura" he is enhancing his overall "wellness" (a word that should be hunted down and destroyed). Maybe they're right. I have barely set foot in the gym in about six months (mainly because of the tiny shorts), but perhaps its location directly beneath my flat has meant magical cardiovascular fitness waves have been emanating through the floorboards.
If they have, they're not enough. In an attempt to keep what has been lovingly described as a "thirties spread" at bay, I've recently been jumping in the pool each morning (well, not exactly each morning) for a few laps, and it's here where I first encountered the pool-walking lady.
Her presence, though peculiar, is not annoying. I have actually managed to time one of her complete circles to three of my laps and I'm pushing myself for four.
Little does she know it, but she has become my exercise partner.