As a mother of three wonderful children I have constantly struggled to find a way to work my way back to my pre-pregnancy shape. After ruling out major surgery and crash dieting to save both my bank account and my sanity, I decided to do it the old fashioned way:exercise. There is only one thing wrong with my method of choice. I don’t like it. My preconceived definition of exercise was walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike until you nearly die of boredom. I had no other choice but to get moving and stay motivated but how? Having somewhat limited resources I headed to my local YMCA and browsed through the group schedule. I felt that joining a class full of people made me a lot less likely to quit and sit on my couch eating potato chips after wiping away my first bead of sweat. The schedule featured a “new” class called Zumba. Simultaneously confused and intrigued I asked the woman at the front desk what Zumba was. She explained that it was a dance/cardio class with Latin music and dance steps. I had to admit that this sounded a lot more interesting than the same old classes I had tried and lost interest in before. I decided I was going to give Zumba a try.
Like most people taking their first stab at a new exercise program, I showed up ready for class in my athletic shorts, baggy t-shirt, and old neglected tennis shoes. I promptly took my place in the back of the class and did my best to remain attentive yet invisible. I scanned the class before the music began and noticed something very interesting about this room full of people. They were all different. Different ages and body types reflected from the mirror lined wall in front of the class. I immediately felt a little more comfortable knowing that everyone there all appeared to be at a different level with their personal physical fitness and that I might not stick out like a sore thumb. Then came the music. The thumping of the base and the salsa rhythm really made me want to start moving. Our instructor began and I did my best to follow her lead. Not having any type of dance training I was worried about keeping up but I wasn’t as awkward as I thought I would be! The steps were pretty simple and there was a repetition that really helped me to get it down before we moved on. Song after song I picked things up a little quicker. This class was more of a dance party than an old fashioned aerobic workout. We were moving to the beat and smiling. One hour later class was over. I drove home with a sense of accomplishment. I was dancing, sweating, and having fun! I was exercising and I loved it.
I continued attending Zumba class three times a week, each time with more enthusiasm than the time before. With every class there was less stumbling and I could feel myself gaining confidence. I went from baggy t-shirts to form-fitting athletic gear as my weight began to drop. Exercise was no longer a dreaded chore. Even someone with my lack of skill and expertise in the field of athletics was having success. Zumba was energizing and addicting. In the span of six months I had lost a total of 18 lbs. Others attending the same classes were also having success with their weight loss goals.
Now that I knew what Zumba was, my determination to share it with others became my goal. I tell people who want to take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle and don’t know where to start that I have just the thing for them to try. Zumba had taken people with a variety of age, weight, and dance ability differences and given them a way to get healthy and stay motivated. With the popularity of Zumba growing daily, I encourage everyone to find the nearest class near you and get moving!