I have never been an athlete nor I can say I loved to exercise. I was born in a home with a sister who was an almost Olympic Swimmer. She had a wall full of medals and was my parents pride. When my parents inscribed me in the same swimming lessons as she was in I was bullied from the very beginning by the teacher and did not make much progress in the classes. From there, I remember hating P.E. all throughout my school years including college.
When I started to include exercise as part of my life I started slowly walking on a treadmill and doing aqua aerobics and yoga. From there I have added the elliptical, zumba, spinning, cardio belly dancing, some weights and I am starting to run for short periods of time.
In reflecting on my progress, especially over the last six months and my exercise routines I can clearly remember how I joined a few different classes over the summer and walked in hesitating whether I would be able to survive the classes or not. I walked in for the first time ever into a Zumba Class, into a Cardio Belly Dance Class and into a Spinning Class and adopted them as part of my exercise routine.
Walking on my home treadmill was a dread. I hated the machine and fought with myself every time I had to get on it, sometimes to the point of tears. One day I decided to put the machine in the place where I sat to watch TV and to this day it is still there. Today I can say that the machine has grown on me, I appreciate having it and I have made a lot of progress from when I began and could not even walk five minutes on it. I have actually started to train so I eventually run and not walk and see how I am making progress.
Aqua Aerobics is a type of exercise I enjoyed a lot from the very beginning. It is ideal for people who have a lot of weight to loose, for people who have joint problems or arthritis problems. It works on your entire body and if it is done in the afternoon helps you to unwind from the day and also to have a good night sleep.
Yoga is a class I also enjoyed very much. It took some getting educated into what yoga was and the benefits it gives your body for me to attend my first yoga class. It is something I did with one of my sisters and my brother and I loved the time spent with them and how my energy was transformed after a yoga class. Having a sister who is a Yoga Teacher helped me to get educated into what a Yoga Practice is however after attending for a while I have decided not to do Yoga at this time as I need to do a lot of cardio but would be a practice I would consider doing in the future as the benefits are many.
Zumba to me was love at first sight. Absolutely loved the classes, the movements, the atmosphere and how I felt when I left the class. So much so that one of my goals when I finish loosing my weight is to become Zumba certified. I just wished I would have discovered this type of exercise at a younger age as it requires a lot of stamina to do this class but my goal is to teach people my age or older as I see how people of all ages and in their 60's and older highly enjoy this type of workout.
Cardio Belly Dance was also love at first sight. I enjoyed the workout and although it is a lower-impact dance than Zumba you break a sweat and work on isolated muscle groups as well as on your arms. It took a lot of courage for me to walk into this class but I do not regret it one bit as I have learned a lot and always look forward to going to my class and dancing to a different tune.
Spinning Class was the biggest challenge for me. I walked in pain for almost a month. Could not take my eyes off the clock waiting for the class to end but I had promised myself that I was going to stick with it and I did. With time I actually have learned to wake up early to go to my class and get into it and enjoy what I am doing. I no longer look at the clock and when I am done I feel great.
When I walked into each one of those classes all I took with me is my enthusiasm and the courage to walk into them and learn what they were all about. A few months later I am happy to report that what amazes me the most is the endurance I have built. I can now participate in the classes fully and no longer focus on the clock. I can break a sweat and feel great after my workouts are done and what is important is that I have made exercise an integral part of my life. Just last weekend I went into my spinning class and right after I went hiking for 1.5 hours and felt fine afterwards. I could have never done that before.
Another big discovery is the amount of women I bump into who are much leaner than me and don't dare take any of these classes as they feel intimidated. Just last week I was waiting for my Zumba class to start and I bumped into my friend's sister. She mentioned she never had done any of those classes but since she saw me at the door she decided to come in. The same thing happened to me with a total stranger. I was waiting for my Cardio Belly Dance to start and she told me I was the inspiration she needed to go into the class and that is why she started coming.
There are days that for some reason or another I cannot do my exercise but I can truly say that where once exercise had no importance for me it does today. I look forward to my workouts, I honor them, I enjoy them and I look forward to doing them.
I still have long way to go in my weight loss efforts but I have come a long way from where I was.
If you have never exercised or do not look forward to exercising as I once did my only suggestion is to stick to it because it is well worth it. Start slowly and add new activities little by little and endurance will follow.