I’ve walked for exercise for years, getting up early enough to walk before going to school each day. I enjoyed the solitude for my prayer time whether outside (preferrably) or on our treadmill (grudgingly).
When I took early retirement from teaching (notice I was not retirement age when I quit!), I started Pilates classes and loved it. The classes were 75 minutes long, twice a week, at 8:30, and gave a great start to my day. After about a year, the place closed for remodeling.
For a while, I used Pilates tapes, but that is not the same! No instructor to say, “Raise those hips higher!” or “Tighten those abs every time you breathe in or out!” Then when the exercise center reopened, the classes changed to once a week and a time that wasn’t convenient for my schedule.
Back to the Pilates tapes and DVDs, but not the same. I’d alternate Pilates and walking outside in good weather and the treadmill in bad.
My rheumatologist said I should be walking in water rather than on land—that it would pay off for my joints down the road. (But what road?) For over a year, I went to the YMCA twice a week to walk in the pool. Hated it. But at least I could get in my prayer time that way. I canceled my membership when I left town for the summer. I decided that was a road I’d accept when I came to it.
Then a new Pilates place opened nearby. Fabulous! Caring, capable instructor, classes that fit my schedule. I was back in gear. Pilates twice a week and walking at least three other days.
Then last summer’s mission trip to Malaysia interrupted my Pilates schedule, and by the time I returned and contacted my great Pilates place, one class had been dropped and the other was full.
Yikes! So I signed up for Pilates classes in Cincinnati with a great Groupon offer. Went five times and felt inadequate four of them. The first time was a snowy day and I was the only person there. Great! Essentially a private lesson. But the other times I was surrounded by beautiful young bodies who could lift and balance and raise and lower in ways that I could only dream about. Oh, I could do what they did 7 or 8 times, but not 30 or 50! They were kind to me, but I felt so inept that I didn’t sign up for more classes.
Then I read in our local paper about Curves/Zumba classes. Maybe that’s my answer, I thought. So I took their free week and learned the machines at Curves. As I’d feared, I was surrounded by dear, white-haired ladies who were very encouraging and sweet and saying things like, “That thirty seconds on that machine is a long time!” I wasn’t sure I wanted to associate myself with that age group.
But finally came the Zumba classes, and I think I’ve found my niche. There isn’t a gray hair in the class except for the instructor’s ponytail, obviously premature. Now I must admit that I think it’s because most of us use a little L’Oreal or Clairol help not to be gray, but that’s part of the point: these are women who haven’t given in to aging in any way they can fight. These women move and stimulate me to do the same.
I love the energy required to keep up with the Zumba moves in between time on the Curves machines. I feel like Goldilocks—it’s not too hard, not too easy, but “just right.” Finally!