Our guest author today has written so beautifully about Zumba that I'm ready to sign up immediately. Having fun, while getting in shape, sounds like the Impossible Dream, doesn't it? And PS: Maggie also loves … orangutans.
I had let myself be lazy long enough. I enjoyed it, but it was time to get back in the swing of working out. Finding the motivation to do so was the hard part.
A little bit of history. I played softball for over ten years while in school, including a year as first baseman on my high school’s varsity team. I’ve always been thin, and it was easy for me to stay in shape. I moved away to college, and worked two jobs outside of full-time classes, so my time was limited and I slacked a little in the exercise department. Luckily I had a boyfriend who was into fitness, so we helped each other stay motivated. Then I graduated, and we broke up, and I headed back home. That leaves us at the present. I’ve been home for just under a year now, and I’m settled, so there’s no reason not to start back with an exercise routine.
However, finding the motivation to get back to the gym hasn’t been easy. I’m 26, and while I know I’m still young, I don’t have the energy I had at 17. I have more stresses in my life, and my free time isn’t as abundant as it used to be. I’ve come to realize that with low motivation, you have to ease your way back into a new habit by finding something that’s fun. Don’t go to the gym and try and run five miles if you
a) hate running, and
b) haven’t even ran a full mile in a few years
It’s not going to happen. You have to start small and work your way up. Set realistic goals, and after you achieve them, strive higher.
I found what I was looking for in Zumba. It’s gotten pretty popular recently, and I’ve heard tons of people talking about it, but I really didn’t know what it was. Through a little research, I found out that classes near me are pretty cheap (and they’re probably cheap near you, too!). That day, I set off to the local parks and recreation center and signed up. The classes meet once a week, and it’s only for an hour. Surely I can do this, I thought.
During my first class, I fell in love. Zumba mixes pop and Latin music with easy steps and moves, creating a short dance that you repeat throughout the song. There’s a lot of Latin steps and flavor to it, which was a little bit hard for my Irish-American hips. But that’s what made it fun, because I wasn’t the only one without Shakira-esque moves.
What I really liked about it is that I laughed through the whole thing- and I was there by myself. Zumba is a great way to exercise with a buddy, because it really won’t feel like exercise if you’re dancing and giggling through the whole thing. It’s good for solo workouts as well. It really didn’t feel like exercise, but I was sweating, my heart rate was up, and afterwards I chugged water like I’d been in the desert. I also liked that it’s super easy to alter your moves to get a harder or easier workout, and the instructor was great at explaining those to us.
I’ve been taking classes for a month, and I also got a membership to Planet Fitness. It’s not been easy to make myself go to the gym when I could be decorating my new apartment, but even 30 minutes a day is better than nothing. So for all those out there who have a hard time finding motivation, start simple. Find something you enjoy doing, something that doesn’t seem like exercise. Start with 30 minutes a day, or every other day, then increase it after you feel comfortable. Set small, realistic goals for yourself. They’re easier to achieve, and you’ll feel better about tackling the next biggest goal when you have a few under your belt.