I opened my refrigerator recently to find a very shriveled yellow squash. Well, that wasn’t what I set out to do, so let me rephrase that. I opened my refrigerator recently and noticed a squash so wrinkly it could have starred in Cocoon. It was just hanging out in a crisper drawer – a drawer clearly not doing its job – this squash was anything but crisp. Some, when seeing this, would think of the need to go to the grocery store. Others may think that it is time to clean out the refrigerator to see if there were enough forgotten fruits and veggies to create an episode of Golden Girls. Leave it to me to be reminded of death and deterioration.
Yes, I’m getting old – it’s a given – that’s how life works. However, I actually NOTICE the aging process in how I look and feel now. I see more wrinkles on my face, ahem… I mean “laugh lines”. I find more grey hair every month. I think about my pension and my 401K. Wow, I am getting old! I also notice that if I sit for more than twenty minutes, when I get up, I’m all stiff and walk like a young Forest Gump before he ran and broke off the leg braces. Ugh, I can’t stand that movie. Anyways… It’s a sad truth: bodies break down, they don’t get better… And Forest Gump is overrated.
I have finally hit the point where I feel I should be trying to construct an umbrella of health to shield myself from the rain of aging that is eroding my youth. Wow! That sounds very dramatic, but I’m sticking with it. So yeah, this “rain” is time, and since I haven’t finished my time machine yet(stupid flux capacitor is on backorder),I have no choice but to fight time’s effects with some cream, vitamins, and exercise. I’m not really into creams and all of that frou frou girly stuff. I am also horrible at taking pills, not to mention that with my allergy to corn, there are many vitamins I cannot take. So that leaves exercise. *Sigh*
I am not opposed to exercise. You can take me hiking up a small mountain any day, and as long as I’m wearing a decent pair of shoes, I will make it to the top and back down again. If you drop me off at a gym by myself though, I will probably just jog on the treadmill for 10 minutes and call it day. Gyms intimidate me for many reasons:
- There are people at gyms.
- I’m not comfortable around people.
- I don’t like people in general.
- The people at the gym have eyes.
- Eyes can be used to watch me.
- I don’t like being watched.
- When I think I’m being watched, I get nervous.
- There is equipment I don’t know how to use.
- When I am nervous (see #2, bullet 3), I look like an idiot when trying to do the simplest of tasks.
- I prefer not to look like an idiot, especially in public.
- I don’t like germs.
- Crotch sweat on the equipment seats counts as a germ in my book.
I think I found a great alternative to going to a gym, thanks to a friend of mine. She suggested I try Zumba. For those who are thinking that Zumba is a robot vacuum, the name of a band, or an online dating service, I’ll clear it up for you. Zumba is an aerobic workout that incorporates different genres of dance moves into a routine set to music. I love to dance, so I gave it a try. Three songs into my first Zumba workout, I thought I was going to puke. Everything moves constantly with this type of exercise. I had my arms, legs, stomach, neck, gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and my gluteus ididnotknowexistus all moving at the same time. I left that class with tunnel vision, sweat soaked clothing, and feeling like I needed to pass out. It was awesome!
I have been to about nine classes since that grueling first class. At first, I would get lost on the moves and just stand there not knowing what to do. Now if I ever get lost, I just laugh and make up my own moves. I’m not really losing any weight, but that wasn’t my goal in the first place. I wanted to increase my stamina, tone the jiggly bits, and just get out and have some healthy fun. Just like with the gym though, there are annoying aspects to the classes I take as well. What? You want me to list them? I wasn’t going to, but okay…
- There are concert quality speakers being blasted, in a “dance studio” that is about 350 square feet.
- Losing my hearing while trying to be more fit, really isn’t a fair trade.
- 90% of Zumba music is by the singer Pitbull.
- Pitbull gets on my nerves after a while. Give me some 80s music…Please!
- Spinning in a circle a few times is reminiscent of my childhood, but spinning in circles repeatedly, with my arms above my head, while shaking my butt, gives me mixed feelings of embarrassment and nausea.
- Doing some of these moves in a different setting would result in dollar bills being stuffed into my waistband… Maybe even a couple Abe Lincolns.
- In this setting, however, I have to pay seven bucks each time I go.
- There are always overachievers in the class.
- Those ladies who, while everyone else is taking a water break, are reliving the scene from Flashdance (where Jennifer Beals is running in place to “Maniac”) in order to keep their heart rate constant, make my personal accomplishments (for example: not puking on my shoes) seem very small.
- The popularity of this workout means the studio is packed.
- I value my personal space.
- The several sweaty women surrounding me do not value my personal space.
There are different types of Zumba too. So far I have tried beginner, intermediate, master class, and Hip Hop; I prefer the latter. I never considered myself a Hip Hop dancer by any means, but I like the moves better than the Salsa moves used in regular Zumba. There are also “Shimmy Shake” and toning classes that I haven’t ventured to try yet, but I’m sure I will.
For someone who isn’t comfortable around people, I have found that I like Zumba enough to expose myself to others. Whoa, wait… That didn’t come out right! Though my workout shirts are open in the back, I meant that I subject myself to being around people. I used to tag along to the class with my friend, then when she couldn’t go, I took my daughter. Now I just go alone. I no longer hide out in the back of the class either; I go right up to the front row. Yes, the classes are packed sometimes, and I have had to dodge fists with three pound weights strapped to them because some women don’t know # 5, bullet one (not the bullet about crotch sweat, but rather the bullet about my space o’ personalness), I still enjoy Zumba. So that’s where you’ll find me at least once a week (hopefully you won’t because that would make you a stalker). I’ll be in the “dance studio” wearing a pair of bright green ear plugs, dodging punches, spinning in circles, and loving every minute of it!