So Now I'm a Dork

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Well, I guess I don't really think I'm a dork -- or at least, if I am, then I'm okay with it! But you know, I suspect the younger woman I used to be would have thought I am.

During the winter, having done an awful lot of Leslie Sansone's "WalkAerobics," I got a little bored. Also, I got to wondering if, even though I rotated DVDs regularly, I really wasn't getting enough variety in my workouts. After all, there may be different combinations of movements on each DVD, but they're basically the same moves.

Being -- like most of us -- on a budget, I didn't want to buy exercise DVDs only to learn that I couldn't do the moves (I'm not overly coordinated and I have a touch of arthritis in my knees) or just didn't like the routines. And neither my budget nor my irregular work schedule (and other responsibilities) lent themselves to my joining a gym. So I started borrowing exercise DVDs and tapes from my local library.

I tried Pilates a couple of times, but was defeated by the fact that I can't do a simple roll-up. I resolved to work on that, but decided to try some other stuff in the meantime. One tape turned out to be for women who'd just had a baby. Well, that was more than a decade after the fact for me! An over-50s tape was too easy. A ten-minute workout DVD was mostly too high-impact -- I could only do one routine out of five without significant pain in my knees.

Then I saw a Richard Simmons "Sweatin' to the Oldies" tape. And I thought, "Oh, you're KIDDING." Because I'm plenty old enough to remember when Richard Simmons first hit the scene. And I remember thinking way-back-when, when I was a little arrogant and mostly in shape, what a hyperactive little twerp he was. And, standing there at the library, I could hardly believe that, after two decades of disdain, I was actually thinking about exercising with the guy.

But I was running out of tapes and DVDs to pick from. And there was something appealing about the pictures on the tape sleeve, of fat and thin and so-not-models people dancing and looking happy. So I picked up the tape, brought it home, and plugged it into the player.

And about halfway through the routine, I started laughing. Because Ms. Too-Cool-for-Richard-Simmons was having FUN. A lot of fun, actually. Simmons' style is very different from Leslie Sansone's -- he doesn't direct you constantly; he demonstrates the moves and expects you to figure them out. (Though I have to say that Leslie Sansone's oft-repeated admonition not to stop moving if you don't get the moves quite "right" turned out to be useful here! Especially the first time or two.) And he is clearly enjoying himself; pleasure and high energy practically radiate off him. They're surprisingly contagious. Most of the people doing the routine with him are "real" people, with imperfect bodies like many of the rest of us have. Those people look like they're having fun, too. And by golly, so was I. It was a surprisingly great way to work up a sweat.

Well, I used that tape for the whole week I had it out. And I borrowed it again. And I went on to the second "Oldies" tape. And now I've got the original tape out again. And there's a 20th-anniversary DVD at my local supermarket that looks like a pretty appealing purchase.

I still do Leslie Sansone routines, to be sure. Quite often, actually, and they're more fun now that they're not my only bad-weather cardio choice.

But I do enjoy sweatin' with Richard. And sometimes I still get a bit of a snicker out of the fact that I'm having so much fun doing something I used to look down on. I do think 20-something Bren would have thought her nearly-50-year-old counterpart to be a bit of a dork. But you know something, younger self? I think you seriously needed to loosen up.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Richard Simmons can be a little annoying, but his tapes ARE actually fun! I was also pleasantly surprised :)
    3210 days ago
    Well, what do we know when we're 20 anyway? Not a damn thing...

    3210 days ago

    3210 days ago
    I think that your 20 year-old self didn't really know what was cool. Your 50 year-old self obviously does. Rock (sweat?!) on!
    3211 days ago
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