By Melissa Mc
There is an adage that says, “the best form of exercise is one you actually DO” or something to that affect. Normally, I walk about 3.5 miles every morning after my kids are off to school, or before my husband is off to work. My friend, Fran, walks with me. We live in a wonderful, “walking-friendly” neighborhood, with lots of hills and trees. I love to walk. I love walking with and talking to Fran, (who I believe, could solve all the world’s problems in a single 45min trek) and it’s an exercise I DO. But Mother Nature can seriously affect my walking schedule, like today, when thunderstorms plagued my morning. So, on a whim, I called the local aerobics studio to see if they had any classes. Sure enough, I had 20 minutes to get to their next class. Now, I’m not an exercise-class person – or PAY for exercise person (walking = FREE). Fran does not charge me to walk with her…but I would gladly pay her if she did. I also hate DRIVING to exercise…because in my mind, I think if I could just walk the distance from point A to point B – why do I need to take the class in the first place? But again, it was pouring outside and I needed to do something to rid myself of the guilt of Easter chocolate.
Honestly, the last time I took an aerobics class was my freshman year in college – when Jane Fonda-leotards, leg warmers and head bands were the de rigueur of class. I wasn’t particularly fond of aerobics classes back then, but I was cautiously optimistic to see if aerobic routines had matured in 20 years.
Repressed memories came flooding back as soon as I took my place in the studio in front of the REALLY big mirror: why hadn’t I remembered that I don’t like other women looking at me exercise. Walking is a very individual and isolated journey – I don’t worry about squirrels casting judgment. Aerobics also requires lots of bouncing! After 20 years – many things jiggle – a lot! Which is why I walk – feeling certain body parts wiggle independently is not a pleasurable thing.
Then there was the peppy instructor yelling motivational words of support at the class, as she sang along with the 80’s muzak on her MP3 player. That combination does not, in my case, motivate.
Finally, I’ve taken enough yoga and Pilates classes in recent years to realize that I enjoy long thoughtful stretches and poses, not short jerky runs, jumps and hops. I was always one beat off and two steps behind because I’m used to holding a pose or deepening my breathing…no time for that during this class.
On the plus side, I was able to endure the cardio work out — my neighborhood walking is obviously doing good things to my body.
At the end of class, the instructors were eager to sell me their “summer special” membership. Thanks, but no.
So tomorrow, when the sun is out and I see Fran walking down the street, I am going to pay her $10 to save the world, not utter a single motivational phrase and make me happy for 3.5 glorious miles.
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