I’m not a huge fan of exercise. It’s just never been a release for me. I know some of you out there get a “runner’s high” and things of that nature, but that has never happened to me. And trust me, I’ve tried. I finished a half-marathon in March and no where in those 13.1 miles did I feel any sense of euphoria.
[The closest moment was when I smiled at mile 8. And that was it.]
But I have finally found an exercise that doesn’t make me totally miserable.
Now listen, I’m not a great dancer. Let’s take that a step further- I’m not a dancer. But something happens when I walk through the doors of my YMCA and head to Zumba class. A little piece of stress falls to the floor with every treadmill I pass. By the time I’m standing at the group exercise room door, the day’s worries are gone and I can already hear the bass of the music. And I want to dance.
Sure, the first time I went was intimidating. I thought it would be a bunch of salsa-dancin’ professionals. It wasn’t. It was normal girls like me. And by the time the second song began, I was having a blast.
I know God calls us to care for our bodies- and I don’t think He cares about the size of our jeans. I think it is about health and wellness- physically, mentally, and spiritually. I’m learning that something happens in my heart when I exercise with joy.
Two friends and I went to class together last night. As we carpooled to the gym, each of us shared the heaviness of our Monday. A recent breakup that won’t evaporate, a new company that brings a lot of responsibility, roommate issues, and the Monday normals.
But Zumba is more powerful than all of those things. It’s the moves, the dance, the music. It’s that moment when you can’t tell if it is sweat pouring down your face or maybe a few tears sneaking from your eyes.
I needed Zumba last night. I needed to feel pretty and strong and free. There was a moment, somewhere right in the middle of Shakira singing “This one’s for Africa!” where I felt completely free.
Zumba does that for me.
Maybe it was the movements- arms flung in the air, body spinning in circles quick enough to cause a cool breeze, head thrown back. Or maybe it was the song [that’s a great song]. But everything else fell away and I spun around and I danced and before I knew it, we had been in class for an hour and it was time to go home.
As we drove away, all three of us sighed in relief. Not because Zumba class was over, but because of all the good that had happened in that hour.
I’m not one to wax poetic about exercise. For that matter, I’m not one to exercise. But Zumba has become something different for me.
It’s a release. It’s an hour where my mind is clear and my body is moving and my heart is happy. I think this is what exercise is supposed to be.
. . . . . . . . . .
What type of workout have you found to be good for your body AND your soul?