There isn’t one bone, muscle or joint in my body that isn’t a little bit miffed with me right now.
No, I didn’t careen into a steel beam (although I’ve done that before. A story in itself.) Rather, I participated in my first Zumba Gold class.
Now before you “ooh” and “aah” in amazement that a couch spud like me would “go for the gold,” know that Zumba Gold is described as “being ideal for those who are beginning exercise, seniors and generally people who may have any sort of physical constraint that does not allow them to exercise vigorously… A number of moves are done at a slower place, enabling a lot more people to take part. In fact, it is also possible to do Zumba Gold in chairs.
It sounded like it had my name on it. I mean, if I could do Zumba from a chair, could I also not do it from a couch?
How did I get involved in this? Via a circuitous route, as usual.
A few years ago I read that, in order to maintain bone density, I had to add some resistance activity to my fitness plan. My fitness plan was very basic – walking around the block once or twice a day. Curves offered a routine of 30 minutes, three times a week. So, walking 30 minutes four times a week, Curves three times a week. I was on this like peanut butter on toast.
South End Curves then added Zumba. The workout routine was still only 30 minutes long, but I got to wave my arms, legs, hips, and belly around – plus sing, holler, clap, and laugh.
What’s not to like?
So far, so good.
Alas, for a variety of reasons, this September I got “the blues.” I am used to being busy and working – for pay or as a volunteer. But this fall I cut back on church volunteering and was cut back on paid work. To combat my feelings of lethargy, I decided to up my exercise quota to 60 minutes a day, to vary my exercise routine at little more, and to join some things that required me to be out of the house by 9 am.
Enter the Older Adult (Parkside) Centre – or rather, I entered it. They offer a Keep Fit for Active Living program – a three-times-a-week hour-long exercise program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30-10:30 a.m.
I love it.
It’s supposed be 30 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of resistance and 15 minutes of stretching – which it is. But for me, it’s also one hour of making new friends and learning new dance steps. At $40 for the entire three-and-a-half-month session, it’s impossible to go wrong. OK, I do get the moves wrong, but I’m in the back corner.
It was at this Keep Fit class where I learned about the OAC’s Zumba Gold class on Tuesday mornings. I just had to try it in the same way I just had to try the world’s spiciest potato chip. Holy jalapeno!
These Zumba grannies are a hard-core fiery bunch. While they are hooting and calling for more, I’m choking and wondering when the torment will end. Even the Zumba instructors – who couldn’t be any more than 30 years of age – were breaking into a sweat.
Suffice it to say, I can hardly wait until next Tuesday.
Zumba Gold is like a hangover in reverse. You feel rough at the time, but once it’s over you are just elated. Today, at my Zumba Curves class, I did a “double.” I was drunk with joy.
Why am I doing this to myself, as opposed to taking up international cooking or home renovations? One taste of my multi-bean casserole and one walk around my hacienda will convince you I’m better out of the house, than in it.
Secondly, my emerging strong interests are health and fitness – mostly in the areas of plant-based nutrition and low-impact, high-cardio exercise. Plant-based nutrition I’ve been doing for years and plan to do a certificate program in it (see www.cornell.edu). Eventually I would love to complete a hands-on, running-shoes-tied fitness instructor qualification, too.
I am getting my start by taking the Home Support Exercise Program Facilitator Course. This program helps folks 55+ to develop and maintain their fitness, mobility, balance and independence.
Anyone who knows me and my careening-into-a-steel-beam story knows the main benefactor of this program will likely be me.
Jan Carrie Steven is a volunteer with Cat Adoption Trust Sudbury (CATS) and the co-ordinator of Small Things: Cats & Books. For more information, go to www.smallthings.ca.