Once upon a time, I belonged to a gym. 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. 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 me swiftly (and regretfully) cancel my membership.
Since then, I haven’t been able to settle on any regular exercise routine. 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. 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 I’ve never had experience with anything vaguely resembling this kind of dance. 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. These first few classes have been tricky, just trying to keep up and not run into the people around me. Plus it seems like as soon as I get the hang of a routine, we’re on to the next one. 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. That will (I hope!) come in time.
But hey: I’m having fun. And I’m moving. And I’m trying something new, which is an important thing on many levels. I remember reading once that there is a subtle shakeup of our perspective that comes from altering our routines, even slightly. 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. 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. Mom tries new things. Mom wants to keep her body in working shape so she can hopefully stick around with you for a long, long time. 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. Mom comes home all sweaty but smiling, because guess what? 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. I’m about as Indian as a bratwurst, but seriously, how fun would that be?
I just may have to find out.