Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Weekend

Kerry McClean: 'My granny couldn't get her head round my mum going on a run for fun ... and nor can I'

Kerry McLean

You'll have noticed from the posters popping up everywhere and the never-ending adverts on TV that Tom Cruise is back up on the big screen in the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise. Now I know wee Tom has his faults (no one mention that jumping on the sofa moment because I'd take an embarrassed beamer on his behalf at the mere thought of it) but you can't slate him for the energy he puts into his films.

The critics may not always be applauding his performances but the cinema going public are always very happy to put their hand in their pockets and pay to see him in action and for good reason. How many big A-list stars are there today who insist on doing their own stunts? Jackie Chan has hung up his nunchucks, Harrison Ford has finished cracking his whip and Arnie? Well, to paraphrase the man himself, he won't be back.

Tom's the last real big star with enough clout, bravery and energy to perform his own daredevil stunts. This latest film has the usual exploits we've come to expect of him, jumping off motorbikes, out of helicopters and, in one jaw-dropping scene, across the rooftops of London.

It was filming this 30-second segment that cost Cruise an ankle, when he slightly mistimed his jump and came smashing down into the side of the building.

Ultimate pro, he finished the take before declaring that he needed medical help and discovering he'd shattered a few bones.

Impressive physical prowess if you're in your 20s or 30s but wee Tom has just turned 56. He's very vocal about maintaining his physique and in interviews is keen to extol the virtues of fencing, rock climbing, sea-kayaking and hiking. I feel knackered just thinking about it.

Of course, with his job, Tom is constantly under pressure to maintain his youthful looks and physical abilities but he's also a child of the Eighties, the era when exercise really came into its own as a hobby rather than a necessary side-effect of work.

It was the decade when we suddenly saw an explosion of spandex-clad fitness stars on our TVs. The Green Goddess appeared on screen at breakfast time and we munched our cereal in time with her jumps and kicks, as she introduced us to the dubious joy of aerobics. Hollywood even got into the act with people like Cher and Jane Fonda bringing out books and videos, stuffed with exercise routines and weight loss plans that promised to keep us all fit forever.

Olivia Newton John deserves a special mention here as being responsible for not only encouraging us to get 'Physical' with her songs but also wear DayGlo bright leotards and headbands outside the gym, crimes against fashion that she should really be held accountable for.

My mum was an early convert to the joys of exercise, especially jogging. Her job as a teacher was a stressful one and she couldn't wait to get home, throw on her gutties, don her very fetching towelling headband to hold back her bubble perm and get out, pounding that pavement.

She was as fit as a fiddle for years due to all that exercise, until the combination of the poor quality trainers on offer in those days and the many miles she covered on the hard footpaths resulted in her knees packing up. My granny was relieved when mum stopped jogging for two reasons.

Firstly, she didn't like her running up and down country lanes on her own and secondly because she never quite got her head around the notion of running unless you needed to go somewhere in a rush. I'm with her on that one.

The exercise industry is so much bigger today than it was in the Eighties, with more weird and wonderful ways to get fit on offer than ever before, with classes like Hula Fit, Twerk fit and even Goat Yoga (I, ahem, 'kid' you not...) coming to a gym near you. As for me, I'll stick to a good brisk walk along the beach. I may never be as fit as my mum or Tom Cruise but at least I'll keep my legs in working order.

Belfast Telegraph

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