Before I signed up for Dancing Stars Augusta, I never exercized. I mean never. If I tried to run a block, I would become so winded that I frightened the neighborhood children. I knew that one of my greatest challenges with this endeavor would be to increase my lung capacity to something larger than the size of a lima bean.
So I began very slowly, taking the “baby steps” concept to almost religious extremes. I would run my short block once or twice a week, and throw in a few jumping jacks and stretches for good measure. This was back in November, before we even had our first “Meet and Greet” reception with the other dancers. I’m lucky that they gave me a head start.
Over the winter I avoided outdoor activities but stayed on with the jumping jacks. I gradually worked up to 5 times a week, trying to take it easy over the weekends. I basically would do as many jj’s as I could, rounded to the nearest 25. I considered it an acceptable place to stop if I felt compelled to say an expletive to myself when I was done. My cats learned to stay out of the way.
Dance classes began in late February, and Stephen was good to give me a few basic steps to practice as “homework”. This was a nice addition to the jumping jacks and stretches, and made the workout more interesting and purposeful. I was pretty shy about the homework and the working-out at this point. I tried to only engage in these activities when I was home alone. You know you are shy about your fitness regimen if you don’t even want your fiance to witness it. One time Forrest saw me go through it and he came up and gave me a big hug. I can only assume he was moved by some form of empathy.
Then, standing in line at Kinko’s one day, I noticed a workout video for sale. (Not quite sure why Kinko’s sells videos, but I was there to pick up a case of wine I had purchased through mail order, so I guess anything goes at Kinko’s.) Of course, the video was “Dancing with the Stars”, and it turned out to be a good investment at $14. The dance routines were almost impossible for me to follow, but the “Warm Up” and “Cool Down” sessions became a perfect way to start and end my daily routine.
The routine had blossomed into a well-rounded, 45-minute session, including my video workout, my jumping jacks (for cardio), stretches, walking with good posture (forward and backward) and my dancing step homework assignments. I emailed this list to Stephen for his blessing. I figured since he is a certified dance instructor, a Physician’s Assistant and studied sports medecine in school, at least someone qualified would be aware of what I was up to.
What I am up to now is 125 jumping jacks a day, running a couple times a week, an extensive list of dance steps and stretches, 50 crunches and even a few push-ups. (It’s not pretty, though. The arms are still pretty woosy. They got in on the fitness routine late in the game.) I realized when I was running recently that I have never truly pushed my body to see what it could do. That was an empowering thought. Another motivation is that I have noticed a little definition and weight loss, which pushes me to keep going when life feels too busy for the workout routine.
As far as the dance routine which will take place on June 10th, it is only 2 minutes long, but it is a pretty intense 2 minutes. The first time we went through it completely, I was light-headed. But that may have been from the spins and twirling, and not from the exercize. I like to think I’m in better shape than that. At least there were no expletives.
Will I be light-headed and panting uncontrollably after the dance routine on June 10th? Come and see for yourself! Find out what 6 months of fitness and practice can bring out in a 45-year-old exercize-avoider! Tickets to the extravaganza are still available! And whatever happens, at least it will be interesting!
p.s. I now enjoy the routine and have integrated it into my daily life enough to say with confidence that there will be some exercize in my life after June 10th. I am no longer shy about working out in front of Kevin and Forrest. (They love me for my personality anyway, right?)