Sweatin’ Like an Oldie

Posted by Dianne on Mar 28, 2014 in Blog, Social Audiences | Tags:, , | Comments Off on Sweatin’ Like an Oldie

I know that exercise is one of the most reliable happiness boosters, but I have to admit it’s not my favorite thing. So I always look for exercise that looks like fun.

I have started going to a Zumba class. Dance has always been my favorite form of exercise and this is the latest in the long line of exercise/dance combos for me. While I jumped, bumped, shimmied, swayed, kicked, and struggled to keep up the pace at class last night, I paused to think about what made this class different from others I have taken. Oh, all right, I’ll admit it. I was desperately grasping for any reason to pause.

Music (and lyrics) – The beat seems consistently faster to me than anything I have ever danced to. Is that possible or is it just me? I think some of the lyrics may be in Spanish. The Zumba website says the program features a “fusion of Latin and International music.” But I’m sure I heard the words “Zumba” and “Sexy” a couple of times and a lot of repetitions of “left, right, left, right, left right.” That might help if hadn’t gone quite so fast.

Sexiness factor – The lyrical mention of sexiness is not an idle use of the words, there is quite a bit of shimmying, bumping and hip circling involved in this style of dance. I’m sure when they “fused” the International music, they skipped Ireland entirely. I don’t think anyone of my cultural background could effectively carry off these moves. But we can adapt.

Footwear – My footwear has reached a whole new level. I remember my first ballet slippers. They were white and had a little elastic strap to keep them on my skinny feet. I was four years old, fearless and nimble. They were the first in a long line of ballet shoes that included, pink ones, black ones and finally the coveted pink satin toe shoes that meant I had finally attained the mastery level that allowed me to dance “en pointe.” There have also been tap shoes, jazz shoes and character shoes. In my teens and twenties I could swing, twist, frug, watusi, swim, and mashed potato for hours in stilettos, loafers and anything in between.

Things went downhill in the late ‘70s when I started going to “Aerobic Dance” classes. Sure, I wore sneakers. They were required, but they were white and looked somewhat sporty (we convinced ourselves) when paired with crisp white shorts and a bright t-shirt.

Now I am sad to say that the sneakers have orthotics inside and I can’t kick up the heels of them as high as I used to.

Attire – I’m afraid the leotards and tutus of my early dance career are long gone as are the plaid skirts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. The crisp white shorts have given way to yoga pants and tank tops or t-shirts. I have to admit, Zumba is much more about moving than it is about costume.

Age – I just know I am the oldest person in room at this class. It’s not just my speed and crow’s feet that set me apart in this group. The t-shirts mentioned in the previous paragraph sometimes bear legends such as “I’m the bride” on the young lady who mentions getting ready for the first dance at her reception or “Jeffrey Middle School Cheer Class of 2006.” Oh sure I know that means she has been out of middle school for eight years, but how old can she be? 22? These young girls intimidate me. Their triceps don’t wobble at all.

Visible tattoos – There is just one more factor that sets me squarely in the “oldies” category in this exercise class. I have absolutely no visible tattoos. The truth is I have no tattoos at all, but I am afraid to admit this for fear of shocking the younger women in the class.

Sweat level – Well that’s what started me thinking about all this in the first place. I’ve never sweat this much doing anything before. Did I mention Zumba is estimated to burn 11 calories a minute? That means I can burn almost 700 calories in a one hour class. I think I will keep going. So I feel old, so my feet are going in the wrong direction and I am sweating bullets – old bullets. When it’s over, I’ll have a piece of chocolate cake. Oh, come on! I’ve earned it.

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