Tuesday, August 21, 2012

4 Weeks of Zumba

This entire year we've been plugging away at parts of our 2012 Goals.  But this summer I realized the year was halfway gone and I still hadn't gotten around to trying new types of exercise.  So earlier this month I  excitedly went forced myself to try out a Zumba class at my gym.

I've done group exercise classes at gyms before, but I hadn't ever done one at our gym here.  I guess I've always been intimidated by the long line of people waiting for the Zumba class to start.  And then they run out of space in the classroom so they hand out passes 15 minutes before class.  The class starts at 9:30 and during this past year, after I dropped one of my kids off at pre-school, I would get there too late to get a class pass anyway. So I kind of lost my motivation to try out a class.

But this summer....well, I really had no excuse.  The gym has childcare and we had many weeks when our schedule was wide open, so I really needed to get motivated and try out a new class.

So a few weeks ago I did it.  I got there about 9:10, got the kids in the daycare, got a pass for the class and waited.  There were only 2 of us that were new to Zumba in that class, and I've been 3 more times and so far there have been no other new people (the instructor asks every time).  There is definitely a loyal following to that class and teacher.

In case you are not familiar with Zumba, it's kind of a latin-themed dance aerobics class.  The class I go to has a lot of Indian music in it with belly dancing as well.  It's heavily branded and marketed.  Many of the people in the class I go to wear pants, hats and shirts that say Zumba on them.

During the first class, I was lost most of the time. Unlike a regular aerobics class where the instructor repeats a lot of moves over and over and calls out over the music, a Zumba class is more like fun choreography to latin songs.  So if you haven't done them before, chances are you're kinda lost.  And I was, even though I had some experience with Merengue and Salsa (which I guess helped a little but I was still pretty bad).  I didn't feel like I got a good workout at all that first class and I was really disappointed.  All that build-up, finally getting the nerve to take the class, and I wasn't even sweating. (However, the next day, I did notice that my arms were sore, which was weird).

But I decided to try it again.  I figured that once I became more familiar with the routines, my workout would improve.  So I went back the next Tuesday.  And the next two Tuesdays after that.  I started to learn the routines, I sweated more, and had fun.  I'm sure I still look ridiculous, but luckily there aren't cameras in the room and nobody is laughing.

The class is an hour, but it goes by quickly.  I definitely have an easier time doing that class for an hour than I would doing the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour.

I think my upper body gets more of a workout in the class.  There is a lot more arm and hand movement than I typically get by running, walking, or doing the elliptical.

I plan to stick with this class through the fall.  I'd actually like to try a kick-boxing class next, but right now there isn't one that fits in with my kids' school schedules.

I think the key to exercise is finding something you like and sticking with it.  Or changing it up.  But just doing it consistently.

I was 37 years old when my youngest baby was born.  The reality is, I'm going to be one of the older
Grandmas when my kids have kids.  I wanted to have kids at a much younger age, but it just didn't happen that way.  That's ok.  I still want to be an energetic, spry Grandma so that I can enjoy and help take care of all my grandkids.  Therefore, I must keep exercising.

Have you tried Zumba?  Have you taken other classes?  What is your favorite form of exercise?

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