Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Functional Adult Goes to Zumba

My friend Kas finally convinced me that my excuses for avoiding the gym were no longer valid:

1.  "Gym allergy" does not come up as a real thing on Wikipedia
2.  I couldn't complain about a lack of proper outfit for the gym since my mom bought me a cute new workout shirt for my birthday
3.  Kas could personally attest that the gym had not, in fact, "probably burned down" in the last few months

Not only were we going to the gym, we were going to an organized class, which would involve other people against which I would necessarily have to compare my wheezing self.  And we were going... to...


I had never been to zumba before.  Zumba combines two things I am not great at: Latin movement and aerobic exercise.  I've danced before, but it was more of the waltz-Broadway-ballet variety, which is to say that when I try, for example, salsa, the chilly stiffness of my Norwegian ancestors seems to triumph over any instruction.  I mostly prefer to dance at weddings, where most possible spectators are kind of drunk and thus unduly impressed by any move I execute.

Kas, on the other hand, speaks Spanish fluently and can shake it like the San Andreas Fault.  I was intimidated.

But there is one thing I like: anything that can distract me from the fact that I'm exercising.  So I gamely accompanied Kas to zumba.

The first song wasn't so bad!  We stepped forward and back and side to side and I could follow the instructor's moves reasonably well.  It was a little distressing to see quite so many women over 60 who were there and in FAR better shape than I am, but I'm kind of used to that.  (I'm in terrible shape and our gym is full of old people.)

It turned out that was the warmup.

Halfway through the second song, I was DYING.  The song was a fast-paced Latin hip hop song.  THe moves made me feel like a time traveler from the 1890s with lungs full of consumption and an inability to coordinate the movements of my hands with my legs.  

Me, to Kas, while wheezing: "This is the most aerobic exercise I have done in literally a year."

As the pace of the music continued unabated, my coorination decreased.  I tripped over my own foot at one point, almost rolling my ankle, to the alarm of the young woman dancercizing next to me.  But I made it through without dying, despite the fact that my movements looked positively lethargic.  And despite the fact that I was unable to catch enough breath to join in the enthusiastic whooping of the rest of the class.  And despite the fact that I was forced to realize that a bunch of late-middle-aged women were destroying me at zumba.

In fact, when I got home, I felt really good - it was almost like Elle Woods was on to something when she said exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy.

I felt good until this morning, when what I felt instead was literally every muscle in my body objecting.  My calves were protesting that I had both used them yesterday and was now forcing them to walk in high heels.   My back was loudly commenting that it doesn't usually do things other than hunching over a keyboard.  My abs were just seething hotly.  And I spent the entire day starving to death, like I hadn't eaten in a year.

I'm going back next week.

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