The well-known dance aerobics style exercise. Great music, dancing, an instructor leading from the front of the class and a fantastic workout for the full body. What more could you want after a stressful day at work?! I started Zumba around seven years ago at our local leisure centre in London. My first session I was wondering what I had let myself in for. I have two left feet, no sense of rhythm no dance experience and absolutely no idea on what Zumba was. But I was open to trying new experiences and that day several years ago and after a stressful day in the world of conference organisation (past career) I was willing to try anything to dance away those stresses.
I did Zumba in two or three different places in London with several different instructors and many dance styles. I then moved to Scotland where life took over and I had to stop going. I lost the passion for it. I thought it would be a nice thing to do every so often but didn’t really do anything about it. Then there was a promotion for our local sports centre in Cumbernauld. I checked the class timetable and took my free pass to the reception desk.
Next thing I knew I was standing in a massive hall with loads other people waiting for the Zumba instructor to turn up. I found myself a little corner at the back of the room where no one would really see what I was doing. Going through my mind was what if there are steps I don’t know, what if everyone else is better than me, what if I fall over mid-class, what if my shorts and t-shirt is not the right thing to wear, what if, what if, what if.
The music started
Then the music started. Well that was it, I was off. My feet started to move, my arms started to move, I followed the instructor as best I could, and I danced until I could dance no more. Halfway through the class I moved from the safety of my spot at the back to the front of the room. I had found my Zumba shoes again. That day I was feeling negative about the day, frustrated at what was going at work and annoyed at the fact life was throwing me curve balls with no break and it wanted me to keep going. By the end of the class I had a completely different frame of mind. I went home and by the end of the afternoon had done the admin that I had put into the “to do later” pile, tidied the house, been to the supermarket, made healthy snack bars, had dinner in the oven and was waiting patiently to talk to Rosie so I could tell her all about my day. Later that evening I was speaking to Rosie about a gym membership so I could do more Zumba classes. By the end of the next day I had a membership, a class timetable and was already booked into two further Zumba classes the following week.
Now, these are the guys and girls who can make or break a Zumba class. These are the one that must put together the dance routines then teach it to the class participants. At our local sports centre there are a good handful of instructors. Some of them dance, some of them chat and one person makes you dance and laugh at the same time. I did her class a few weeks ago and I laughed from start to finish. This instructor brings a tongue in cheek approach to it and can have the class in hysterics. If you are not laughing or just smiling at the end of one her classes, then something is very seriously wrong. I feel it takes a great person to have such a unique quality and with her energy it is hard not to move your feet.
Today I Zumba around two to three times a week. To be honest I would probably Zumba seven times a week if my schedule allows but it unfortunately doesn’t. When the musics starts I just go with the flow. I fully admit I’m the person facing the wrong way during the songs, going left when everyone else is shuffling right, making up my own steps and trying my best to keep up with everyone else. But here is my point, it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are jumping, waving, smiling, burning calories and having an excellent time dancing away those life stresses.
So, this is a very long way around to say go and try Zumba. Dance, laugh, burn calories and have an excellent hour away from life stresses. I guarantee you will feel better at the end of it all and ready to face the next challenge thrown your way.
Ps. I always welcome a buddy with two left feet to stand next to me at a class!