Once upon a time, I belonged to a gym. Â I liked using the weights and walking on the treadmill and even, occasionally, taking a dip in the pool. But then I had kids, and my visits there became less and less frequent. Â When I divided the membership fees by the number of times I was actually using the facility, I realized that every visit was costing me about $30, which was enough to make Â me swiftly (and regretfully) cancel my membership.
Since then, I haven’t been able to settle on any regular exercise routine. Â I tried to get back into running, which I used to do many years ago, but it turns out that the knees of a woman in her late thirties are different from the knees of a woman in her late twenties, and running is no longer the sport for me.
So I’m trying something totally new. Â I’m taking a Latin dance fitness class, a high-intensity aerobic workout that incorporates elements of salsa and Colombian folk dance and cha-cha-cha and that sort of thing.
Let me say up-front that I am about as Latin as a pierogi, and Â I’ve never had experience with anything vaguely resembling this kind of dance. Â Â Nor, should I add, am I very coordinated; I took ballet as a kid and social dance in college, but I was rather dismal at both. Â These first few classes have been tricky, just trying to keep up and not run into the people around me. Â Plus it seems like as soon as Â I get the hang of a routine, we’re on to the next one. Â And in a classic example of rub-your-stomach-and-pat-your-head, I find myself having to concentrate so much on the footwork that I’ve bascially given up trying to make my arms do what they need to do. Â That will (I hope!) come in time.
But hey: I’m having fun. Â And I’m moving. Â And I’m trying something new, which is an important thing on many levels. Â I remember reading once that there is a subtle shakeup of our perspective that comes from altering our routines, even slightly. Â It’s not a huge thing, but it is enough to jolt the pieces lose so that fresh currents of creativity and discovery can circulate in the spaces between. Â The writer in me really likes that.
As a parent, too, I hope that taking this class will offer a few life lessons to my kids. Â Mom tries new things. Â Mom wants to keep her body in working shape so she can hopefully stick around with you for a long, long time. Â Mom is not afraid to make herself look ridiculous at something she can’t do well right out of the gate, because there is a virtue that comes from plugging away and not giving up. Â Mom comes home all sweaty but smiling, because guess what? Â She’s just had fun … and that’s something we all deserve to have.
Speaking of which, I found out that this same place also offers a Bollywood dance class. Â I’m about as Indian as a bratwurst, but seriously, how fun would that be?
I just may have to find out.