Fencing and Flamenco
October 2, 2015
The jury is still out in terms of “do we or don’t we join a gym”. On checking the small print we have unearthed “extra charges” which we had assumed were included; discovered that the bargain rates are bargains because it allows use of only the bare minimum of the facilities at the most antisocial of hours; and realised that walking from the closest available parking would be a 30 minute work-out all by itself… So we have not yet signed on the dotted line and parted with cold hard cash just yet.
If I’m being honest (which I usually try to be) I think that we’ve almost ruled it out. Lovely Husband and I were discussing why “the gym” was back on our radar. For me it is because knee injuries and a shoulder injury at the end of last year mean that I am rather cautious and for me, the “security” of having a trainer on hand to explain how to use the equipment, or to yelp to if I did overdo it, is important. For Lovely Husband, who is trying to regain a level of fitness after his medical diagnosis, he likes the idea of being given programme to follow which is specifically targeted to his needs. However, my GP has suggested that weekly physio will be more beneficial to me and Lovely Husband has been told not to overdo it to begin with (which is something he cannot help but do) and so we are considering other options.
It was whilst we were pondering alternatives that we started to think not in terms of “exercise” but in terms of expending energy and moving more. Many moons ago LH and I took up fencing. He was a natural whilst I was hopeless. We had taken the classes as something we could do together but when it became obvious that Wednesday evenings were not something I looked forward to, LH suggested we look at other options.
For me, for two years of my life, “moving more” took the form of belly dancing. Not something I had ever considered before, but a friend needed moral support and so I offered to go along. We completed two years but when the intermediate class timetable came out, and was not compatible with my friend’s schedule, it fell by the wayside.
The “big gym debate” did lead LH and I back to remembering those times when we had moved more. My five-night-a-week nightclub habit (in my late teens and early twenties); his time in armed forces when exercise was compulsory. We realised that the key is finding something that we enjoy moving more to. We both have more or less agreed that we mooted the idea of “the gym” because it feels like that qualifies as “proper exercise”. We would be doing it not because we “want” to do it, but because we feel we “should” do it. And yes, it would offer variety and on-the-spot expertise but, if we are being honest, we would probably hate every minute of it, become deeply resentful, end up not going, and find ourselves locked into the expense of a 12 month contract that we don’t use.
We also agreed that just because we have, thus far, shared most of our weight loss journey – we aren’t actually joined at the hip. Our workouts at home follow completely different programmes so there is no need for that to change when heading “out of the house” for exercise. We have agreed that LH is going to a fencing refresher class to see if he still enjoys it and I am going to see if there are any classes in the area that will teach me something I have long wanted to do – flamenco dancing.
I know that in the grand scheme of vigorous activities belly dance and flamenco properly won’t rack up the “calories burned” at quite the rate of “running marathon/swimming the channel”, but the fact of the matter (for me anyway) is that I have to enjoy what I am doing. In terms of “working up a sweat doing something I loathe” is a weekly part of my life already with the ordeal that is Sunday Morning Ironing. I don’t need any more of that thank you very much… what I do need is something that makes me move more and smile. Belly dancing did that for me… and you’d be amazed at just how much moving it involves and the muscle groups required to make your ribcage go to the left whilst your pelvis heads to the right. I would have my two hour class every week and then I would go home and practice the routine – at least 30 minutes every night. It never felt like exercise... it always felt like fun. I was definitely moving ... and (like my rebounder and my 1970s disco playlist) the time went so quickly it was over before I had time to realise I’d done a 40 minute workout.
I haven’t yet managed to find a flamenco class here in my neck of the woods… I’m going to keep hunting... and in the meantime the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and The Best of Boney M will keep me going… and who knows… I might even find a gym that ticks all the boxes as well… but if I don’t… it won’t be the end of the world… finding something I enjoy doing and which I want to do will be far more effective than doing something I don’t want to do.. just because I think I should…
Have a wonderful weekend
With a Hug.