Another Post About Zumba. No, Really.

So, I’ll be honest with you – I’ve battled a chronic low-grade depression for most of my adult life. I think the fact that I’m a naturally anxious person probably compounds things, but it’s there, I’ve done a number of things to combat it, ranging from couch time with a good shrink to a scattershot of anti-depressants. I’ve never been rendered nonfunctional because of any of this, but sometimes it’s kind of like wearing a coat that’s a size too small and a little itchy.

The drug of the moment is Effexor, and it works nicely to give me a lift and suppress some of the anxiety. I’m probably never going to go off of it, because of the side effects that reportedly come with quitting it. But since it works, I’m good.

That said, I think that Zumba has far and away done more for me than all the therapy and pills combined.

Here’s why:

1. Exercise is good for you! Well, duh! Everyone knows that moving your carcass gets the blood flowing, reduces stress and will hopefully start keeping my blood pressure at bay. I had heard this for years, but because I actively dreaded working out, I missed out on the rush that comes with breaking a sweat.

2. The music is really upbeat and happy – case in point, last night, I danced my way through housework courtesy of Cacilda’s CD. I respond to music and always have. And as much as I love Matt, his music of choice isn’t usually light and peppy. I need light and peppy. Like showtunes, oldies and apparently, Zumba music.

3. Being around people is a good thing. If you’re exercising, and happy, you’re going to meet other people who are also exercising and happy. The people in my class are so friendly! And nice, and so on. I always worried that if I took a class at the Green Hills Y, I’d be surrounded by either skinny little college girls who would treat me like a smelly beached whale. What I found was a lot of women who are incredibly kind, crazy smart, wickedly funny and just a pleasure to be around. I have as much fun talking to people after class as I do in class.

4. You get back what you put out. I don’t always believe this to be true, but it’s true enough. If you’re out there and you’re putting out positive energy, you’re going to get positive energy back. What could be more positive than spending time listening to great music, with fun people and shaking your bunda? The happier I am, the more happiness I attract, and the more happiness I attract, the happier I am.

5. Because I feel better about myself, I’m more likely to get out and try more things and meet more people. In Atlanta, I had friends, but I wasn’t an especially social person. A lot of it was geography, but I think I could have had a lot more fun it I had been open to it

6. I misjudged myself. I will tell people that I am clumsy and not very coordinated. I’ve said it so often that even if it wasn’t true then, it is now. Ok, so am I as graceful as a prima ballerina? No. But can I hold my own in class? Yeah, I can. The point is – so many of the things I’ve thought I couldn’t do in life were limitations I created based on self-perception. So now, rather than think, “Oh, I’m not good at this” or, “I can’t do that.” I’ll try. And you know, I may not be good at something, but I can still do those things, and possibly even get better at them. And I’d rather fall down while trying than stay safe sitting on the sidelines.

That’s that. So, yeah – you get the point. I’m feeling pretty good these days.


Erika said…
I'm glad you're feeling good! I love zumba, too - let's keep doing it! I just sent you some photos from the other night.

Have fun on your trip. Keep faking it til you make it!
No Mommy Brain said…
i will have to check out calinda's class. is it at green hills? you have to come to the east Y for caley's class sometime. SOOO fun! and i'm totally with you - zumba has completely changed the way i think about working out and is like the bright happy spot in schedule every week. :)