I have stepped out of my comfort zone and joined the local YMCA. I wrote about my difficulties with organized exercise in the post In The Privacy of My Own Home but I think I’m ready to try again! Though I would rather read a book any day, it was time to move.
True confession, I was never an athlete. I played one short season of softball in elementary school. My memories of that adventure involve praying for the pitcher to throw four balls out of bounds so I would not have to swing the bat. Standing in the outfield – yes, right field – grateful that very few hits ever came my way. I did finish the season but was so relieved when it was over. My brothers both played sports and my father was always a volunteer coach but I was never interested in utilizing the benefits of Title IX.
I have such a hard time putting myself out there when I feel clumsy and uncoordinated. In my mind every class is filled with those Stepford Wives that are perfectly coiffed – even at the gym! In my mind I am the only one that is struggling and the only one that will stick out in the class. Remember, I have no muscle memory from sports or even a number! Everyone would have a friend and I would be all alone. I don’t think this kind of drama is reserved for high school kids!
What got me over the fear hurdle? A few things. Age is the biggest one but for a couple different reasons. My knees are very unhappy these days and if I sit around for too long they really ache. They ache less when I exercise and I feel just all around better. Also with age comes a big chunk of not caring how silly I look. That is what finally got me to get up and go.
How is it? Very mind opening. For one, there were many people perfectly coiffed but many more in t-shirts and shorts and raggedy pony tails. I went to Zumba and there were lots of people who were uncoordinated. I joined in water aerobics (much harder than I thought) and I didn’t drown or make a fool of myself. I experimented with Tabata Light. A little unnerving when the instructor starts the class with statements like “Don’t worry, I know CPR.” and “Some of you may throw up or pass out, pay attention to your body.” Of course there were people doing all of the intervals with grace but there were so many of us huffing and pausing and commiserating. And no one actually passed out.
I met with a health coach to help me make a plan and learn the machines. “What are your goals?”, she said. To be strong. To be healthy. To take care of my body. To feel good in my body. “Weight loss?” , she asked. If it comes as a result of the original goals, then that’s great but I’m not going to obsess about that. I’ve lost too much time in my life worrying about that number on the scale. It felt powerful to say that and it feels powerful to work it!
I encourage you to find a way to feel healthy. I feel great after that Zumba class even though I almost whacked my neighbor in the head and tripped a little while doing a side step and cannot wiggle my hips like Natalie, the instructor. As she says, this is meant to be fun. ” Laugh at me, laugh at yourself, keep moving.” Thanks, Natalie – you are an inspiration.
If you have considered the gym but had those same fears, I promise it is better than you think. Find a movement you enjoy and try to fit it in. Good luck and be strong!
~ The Mildly Manic Mom