The Gateway Exercise

Do you remember being a kid in jr. high and learning about marijuana being the “gateway drug”? As in, “the drug that leads to other drug use”. Well, I’ve found my Gateway Exercise. As in, “the exercise that gets me exercising more.”

That’s right. It’s Zumba. And I’m totally the chick in the rain!

It’s been awesome and I definitely recommend these classes if you love to dance. I started about 9 months ago and even though I take other classes at the gym sometimes, or now I’m up to jogging 3 miles a few days a week, whenever I hit a slump a Zumba class will always get me going again. If I don’t want to exercise, if I just GO then ten minutes into the class I’m full of energy and just loving the music and all of a sudden I’m a professional latin dancer…in the rain. Thaaaat’s right.

Now I’ve added jogging to my repertoire and I don’t even LIKE jogging. So how in the heck did I get to jogging?

One day a few weeks ago I just decided that I wanted to do some honest physical activity everyday.  So on a non-Zumba day I started walking in my neighborhood on a path that I know to be a two-mile loop. And the next day during the same walk, I had the energy and decided to jog.

And it was pretty easy.

I was so surprised how well I did jogging almost two miles non-stop when previously I would have been huffing and puffing through the whole thing. I could genuinely feel the increase in my fitness level from the year before and I know it is because of the aerobic conditioning from Zumba.

Feeling pumped about my new ability, I increased my jog to a 3 mile loop and most days I’m able to get through the whole thing without stopping. This doesn’t feel easy though and I know I’ll be at this level for quite some time.

It is very important with exercise to not be a perfectionist about things. It’s ok to just stay at the same level, or to have off days where you don’t do as much. But it’s also really important not to totally give up on this thing called fitness. Something. Anything. It’s important to find that gateway exercise.

This is an awesome video and was quite motivating to me. What is the single best thing we can do for our health? Above all others? (Hint: it’s not losing weight.)

Unfortunately I was never able to find my gateway exercise until after my youngest was a little older. With pregnancy and little babies in the house, it seemed for several years that fitness was mostly a “catch a walk here and there” or “does excessive housecleaning count?” sort of activity. (And yes housework really does count!) And as much as I don’t believe exercise should cost a bunch of money, the truth is I was never able to just jog for exercise on my own. I really needed something else (and still do!) to help break things up. When I’m jogging I have to have so many conversations in my mind to keep from hyper-focusing on my distance or pain. With group classes, my mind is completely occupied by trying to pick up on the instructor’s choreography and the hour flies by.  And so I have a gym membership with a Kids Club. It’s the only thing that has helped me get consistent exercise, so it’s been worth it.

Have a wonderful day!

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2 Comments

Filed under A Year in Skirts, Thoughts on Stuff

2 responses to “The Gateway Exercise

  1. So funny! I’ve just discovered (last weekend!) a love for indoor rock climbing – something I haven’t been able to try before because of five pregnancies. That is great! My blogpost on it is forthcoming… (http://threefriendsfitness.blogspot.com/)

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