I have never been a very athletic person. You could argue that I swing dance regularly, but I would then argue that swing dancing very quickly becomes muscle memory over athleticism.* However, my attitude towards fitness, my habits, and my body are changing.
When I was younger, I decided that running was just about the most absurd form of exercise anyone had ever imagined. After all – what are the main reasons we would need run?
- To get somewhere faster (because you’re running late). This is an easy fix: leave on time, and you won’t need to get there faster. Duh.
- Something is chasing you. For example, a bear. In this case, the adrenaline will be all you need. And anyway, if a bear is chasing you, everyone knows it’s better play dead than to run.
- You’re chasing something. If you need to chase it, it’s probably not worth having. (This applies to relationships, too.)
Still, for whatever irrational reason, I started running last year. It was a bit stop-and-go until this year, when I finally found a groove. In fact, I started enjoying my runs, which was almost a terrifying realization. Regardless, I’m excited about this new phase of fitness in my life.
A few statistics: when I started running regularly earlier this year, I was running no more than 1.25 miles at a pace of about 10mins/mi. Now I average 2+ miles per run, and I’m running somewhere between 9:20 and 9:30 min/mi. I think my favorite part is watching all these leg muscles develop which I’ve never really noticed before…
Last but not least, my favorite of my fitness endeavors over the last month! Let me tell you, this is one of the coolest and most exciting things I’ve ever done. I mean, have you seen it? It’s awesome.
I have done so many things I didn’t know myself capable of. I have more balance than I thought, and more strength and flexibility. I also have more courage than I ever imagined – because I can’t explain how terrifying it is to kick my feet over my head and attempt to do a simple head stand. And then doing it another 2-3 feet off the ground on top of someone’s feet? Six months ago, I never would have considered it – but here I am, learning to do headstands on the ground and shoulder stands in the air!
I really suggest that if you’re looking for something new to do, you find the Acro Yoga classes nearest you. It’s different, it’s fun, and it’s challenging. And did I mention how cool it looks?
Who would have thought there were two circus-inclined children in the Westbrook family?
My goal is to have one of those bodies that other people (including myself) envy. You know, they’re fit, they’re flexible, and they have an awesome tan. Well, I don’t care as much for the tan — but I love the idea of being fit and flexible. When I’m sixty, I want to brag about my twenty-something’s body to my children. And slowly but surely, I’m getting there — and that, my internet friends, is incredibly exciting.
*I argue this because we don’t usually dance straight through the night (or even straight through an hour), and when we do, the DJ doesn’t regularly boost the speed up to 200+ and then pull it back as if we were dancing intervals. And if the music is too fast to dance comfortably? We slip into balboa. Or Charleston. Or we break for water. So while swing dancing can be athletic, you do not have to be athletic to swing dance.
** If you’re confused about what Acro Yoga is, you should visit www.acroyoga.com, and you should look at this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bMMlzQsQPk4#!) (be careful – you can get sucked into video watching). But don’t get scared! There’s a lot less moving through moves in beginning Acro Yoga; instead, we tend to find a pose, hold it, and then move (slowly) to the next pose. Eventually I’ll work my way up – but for now, I’m incredibly proud of the few things I’ve been able to manage!