Posted by: drrozkaplan | January 21, 2010

A Better Way to Exercise

I had a long, not-so-great day.  It started with an argument with a slightly irrational adolescent offspring.  Remind me next time not to engage.  I know that rule.  I just forgot (again).  I did recover my sanity and apply appropriate consequences to actions, thus cutting my losses and leaving for work only minimally battered.

The beeper started going off on the way to work, which is NEVER a good sign.  Somehow, emergencies are expected at night, but unnerving at 7:30 am.

My partner is off on Wednesdays, so I was the only doctor in the office.  Therefore, Wednesdays are always loaded with extra sick visits, med refills, and abnormal labs that have to be managed.  I had a very full patient schedule, and a couple of particularly challenging problems to solve.

By the time I headed home at 5:30, I was exhausted. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. But dinner still had to be made, and the recalcitrant adolescent and her boyfriend were doing homework and I couldn’t exactly ignore them, and the dogs were demanding attention the minute I opened the door.  I did what I had to, but the last thing I wanted to do was exercise.  I really wanted to lie on my bed and zone out with the TV remote.

However, I had made a commitment to myself to try a new form of aerobic exercise out tonight, and had already mentioned to several people that I was going to do this.  I found out that a dance studio about 10 minutes from home had Zumba classes, and that there happened to be one on Wednesday evenings.  All the rest were daytime classes so I couldn’t go.  So tonight was it.

Zumba is a form of dance fitness based on Latin dance.  It is vigorous, fast-paced and lively.  Depending on the teacher, it can have a lot of elements of an aerobics class or be much more like  a dance class.  I love dance of all kinds, and studied it for many years- I finally retired my ballet shoes around 40 when some of the discipline became too painful to muscles and joints.  Since then, I studied Latin and Ballroom.  So exercise based on dance is perfect for me, and the more dance-y , the better.

I fought with myself a little about going.  I knew it would be good for me and I would feel better afterwards. My doctor has been telling me to increase my aerobic exercise to daily if possible to control my migraines, but I have fallen short, and this would be another aerobic session.  Still, my desire was to be horizontal.  Finally, I put on my exercise clothes and took myself to Zumba class.

The hour sped by.  I haven’t had that much fun exercising in years.  There were about 10 of us in class, ranging in age from the 20’s to the 70’s, and of all different shapes and sizes.   The music had that great Latin, move-your-hips quality.  Nobody was self-conscious.  Everyone tried to get the steps and the hip motion and the body rolls.

It reminded me that moving SHOULD be fun.  Last week we went ice skating.  That would have been fun too, if there hadn’t been chaos of kids chasing each other and crashing into other on the ice.  But this is why we have sports and recreation.  Sure the gym is there in a pinch, but it’s it’s so much better to dance or skate or play a game.

Sometimes I think about what an alien looking down from another planet on a bunch of people in a gym would think.  ‘They’re all on machines walking or pedaling and going nowhere!’  It is a strange concept.

I wish I could get all my patients who don’t exercise to find some form of physical activity to get excited about.  I know I’ll be going back to Zumba next Wednesday.  Or wait, look on the schedule-there’s a Saturday a.m. class!  Maybe I’ll be going twice a week for a while.



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