OK, so Zumba may not be the most obvious form of exercise for someone who is uncoordinated, can’t dance, bumps into things and has no musical sense whatsoever. Imagined as a Venn diagram, there is my comfort zone – a circle filled with things like eating biscuits, listening to Radio 4 comedy, walking long distances across cities just for the sake of it, and browsing vintage furniture shops – and then somewhere orbiting that circle, in a similar relationship to the way Neptune orbits the Sun, there’s Zumba. I’ve always thought of dance-related activities as something for pretty, popular girls, not slightly awkward ones like me. But I have to lose some weight and get myself fit enough to walk 26.5 miles in May, 50km in September and – this is only if those haven’t finished me off – possibly 100km some time next year. So needs must.
The Zumba craze has been sweeping the nation for several years now, and 50% of my friends go regularly (and look fabulous on it), but strangely the idea of standing in front of a full length mirror next to a lot of people much more toned than I am, listening to my daughter’s iPod full volume (I prefer The Smiths) while someone shouts incomprehensible instructions at me is not my idea of fun. Plus this sort of exercise generally involves having to wear tight-fitting garments and expose lots of flesh, and there’s a good reason I don’t do this in my everyday life. It’s mainly because I need to take more exercise. So a bit chicken and egg really.
I got there early enough to secure my spot at the back of the class, lined up the water bottles, and braced myself for the beats. Though the sudden changes of move with no prior warning were a bit alarming (I’d still be doing some side-step action when suddenly everyone else would be leg-kicking over to the other side of the room without me) and I haven’t had to concentrate that hard since Physics A’level, it was, on some obscure level, enjoyable.
The instructor was lovely and very encouraging, and generously ignored the fact that I can’t even clap in time, never mind follow basic dance moves and fit them to music. Mind you, thinking about it now, she did strongly suggest I might like to try Piloxing (basically a mix of Pilates and punching, which does sound fun), so perhaps she is trying to get rid of me after all.
On the plus side, at least I didn’t fall over, which for me is a result.
So surely all this self-inflicted humiliation deserves sponsorship for the events I’m trying to get fit for?
If you want to sponsor me for the Moonwalk (26.5miles, at night, across London, for breast cancer charities, on 11 May) you can do so here Moonwalk Or if you’d like to sponsor me to do the Thames Path Challenge (50km, Putney to Runnymede, for Macmillan Cancer Support, on 14 September) you can do so here: Thames