The exercise classes here are pretty varied. I can get a good workout, there’s always enough variety to make things interesting and keep my body working efficiently, I’ve learned a lot of new things, and I’m definitely getting a good mix of cardio, strength, core, stretching, and mind-body/stress management practices. But some classes are easier or harder than others, and I had a revelation: I am responsible for my own exertion. In other words, how hard I work in that class is entirely up to me! If I need it harder, I can go for it with a little more intensity, bend lower, step wider, raise my arms higher, hop instead of stride, add heavier weights, etc. If I need to take it a little easier, I can hang back and walk in place for a minute.
Sure, sometimes I feel a little like Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners when he was learning the Mambo, flailing my arms, thrusting my body about, but who cares. This is for me. Another thing I do that actually adds a little challenge if I want to ramp it up is I sing. Yep, sing. I find that the extra amount of energy and breath required makes the workout that much more challenging. And it’s fun! AND when I have sung, there hasn’t been a single time when I was the only person singing – or flailing my arms, or gyrating like Ralph Kramden, or sweating up a storm.
If I’m going to care too much about not looking funny in class, I’m not going to get the same benefit from the workout. And if I’m going to simply follow my neighbor and not make the workout my own, it won’t be the workout that I need.
So I’m having fun while taking responsibility for my own exertion, and it’s a responsibility I’m happy to take.