by Terri Winder
Last semester, my two teenage daughters and I signed up for an early morning college Zumba class. Along with recording our body measurements, we were asked to write down what our goals for the class were. I wrote down, “Spend time with my daughters.”
I accomplished that goal. No sooner had we registered than I spent time with them shopping for workout clothes – with emphasis on the “spent”.
Then, two days a week, before dawn, I spent time trying to wake them up, get them up, and get them going. During the drive to and from the Wellness Center, I spent time trying to convince them that yes, they could get through an entire semester of 6:45 a.m. classes. By the end of the semester I was quite spent, so I obviously accomplished my goal.
However, I wouldn’t be completely honest if I failed to admit I had also hoped to get in shape. I did lose some inches, which mostly came right back on during the holiday season, but I figure (so to speak) I’m still ahead of where I would have been had I not lost those inches before I gained them back.
After the first class, my daughter Megan said, “Mom, we need to get you on the Wii, so you can learn the Zumba moves.”
I told her I was taking it easy on purpose—at my age I needed to exercise restraint.
“What are you talking about, ‘your age’?” she asked, truly puzzled.
“Meg, I’m nearly three times as old as you are,” I pointed out.
“Oh,” she said, in a small voice, obviously shocked. That evidently put it in perspective. Then she added. “But you work twice as hard as I do!”
And ten times as long, I might have pointed out, but decided not to rub it in.
After all, it’s more strength of will than strength of body that keeps me going; that’s something she may not yet understand.
My age showed in other ways. After the first day of class (which I smiled through, because it was so fun) I started wearing ear plugs. It wasn’t the music, it was the volume that bothered me. I asked the instructor if it was wise to have it set at 113.5 on the decibel scale. She replied that Zumba is supposed to depict a club atmosphere. I didn’t point out that the only drinks in the room were found in water bottles, I just used my earplugs and kept smiling.
And okay, I’ll admit it, maybe it was the music. It wasn’t long before all of the songs’ lyrics were running through my head on a frequent basis and “Moves like Jagger” isn’t something I want embedded in my brain. I began to wonder if there could be a market for affirmation statements set to an energizing beat, then I could restore my ‘tude as well as my bod.
When the semester ended, so did our experiment with changing our lifestyle. The only way my girls could be morning people is if morning started at noon.
Consequently, we all got exercise DVD’s for Christmas, so we could set our own schedules. However, since leaving Zumba, my best workout was on a gray Saturday in January when I decided to BYOB: Boogie Your Own Body.
I was feeling silly and started doing the Hokey Pokey while standing on the wooden floor of the kitchen and putting my right foot “in” the carpeted family room.
“What are you doing?” my daughter Jenny asked, visibly alarmed.
“Turning myself around,” I sang to her, as I did just that.
“Oh my goodness, Mom,” she exclaimed, “you better move away from the windows before the neighbors see you!”
“Haven’t you ever done this?” I asked, teasing. “We used to do it all the time in grade school.”
“No,” she firmly insisted, her tone implying she would never stoop so low as to put her “bahootie” (as she calls it) in and shake it all about. Then she softened as she recalled, “Mr. Barlow made us do that Western dance, the ginger ale.”
“You mean the ‘Virginia Reel’?”
“Yeah, that one.”
Laughter is the best aerobic exercise of all: it’s like internal jogging.