The triumphant return to......EXERCISE.

I went to an exercise class a couple of weeks ago. A Zumba class, in my town hall, one evening after work. No big deal. 
Except it is. I haven't exercised – not in a class, anyway – for a good couple of years. I think. Well, I tried my beloved Body Balance again after my first operation. I may have attempted yoga once or twice, and I must have gone swimming at some point. I even attended an Ultimate (Frisbee) tournament the summer after my first op (meaning I was running on a pitch throwing myself around catching a disc for 8+ hours a day for a whole weekend, approximately 5 weeks after I regained the ability to walk – not my best idea). I've tried, I suppose. But this was different. Going to this local fitness class was a step. A lot of steps, actually, to noughties pop songs and funky Spanish tunes...but one big step, metaphorically.

I warned the ridiculously energetic instructor when I first got there and paid my £5, I have had operations. I haven't exercised in a long time. Then I assured her that these operations would not affect my movement and I'm not at any risk. I would just be slower. I'd stay in the back, behind everyone else, keeping to myself and not alerting anyone to my hideous unfitness and appalling rhythm.
I don't know what I was expecting. I really don't. I'd just decided that morning that I'd go. I wanted to give myself a chance. I wanted to test out my body, feel a buzz maybe, push myself more than I have in ages. Like, my only form of exercise these days is walking. Running up stairs at work or in tube stations. Shelving stacks of books (more of a workout than you'd think). Yeah, that's about it.
I used to do Zumba, around the time I started uni. I loved it. It was the perfect workout for me – dancing madly, no strict moves, squatting a lot and kicking and punching and twirling. It was essentially sassy aerobics. I knew it would be tough going back, but I also knew I'd rekindle that old love. For the exercise, for my body, for me.

These were my thoughts in chronological order during the first class... 

  • I'll wait out here, until the music starts, maybe. Like, I'll rush in and just stay at the back. I don't want to be hovering, waiting to start. I don't know anyone...
  • It's actually good that I don't know anyone, I suppose. Nobody will chat with me and I won't feel self-conscious. I can focus on me. Yeah.
  • Oh wait, I know her. And her. They're lovely. I'll say hi.
  • Yay, we're standing together! Okay, this is actually nice. Zumba at uni was like this, when my friend taught and the rest of us danced like ACTUALLY CRAZY and laughing the whole way through. It's a good social sport.
  • Is it a sport? It's a form of exercise.
  • I vaguely remember dancing to this one – it's Beyonce, nice. I swear I did this set of moves way back when. Easy to remember. Good, good...
  • Ouch, I think my legs have realised what's happening. They're not happy.
  • People always say my legs are crazy strong. They are – my upper body can barely stand ANY weight, and I can't lift a thing most days, but my legs are powerful af. Just right now they are livid @ me.
  • Wow, my body is AWAAAAKE.
  • I forgot how much I sweat when I exert myself. I always have – cross country at school I was constantly stopping for breathers and drinks because I was bright red and puffing hard. Same as right now, tbh. We're only 2 songs in!
  • My butt is sweaty. Like, the small of my back, just above my butt. I hope nobody can see sweat patches. 
  • Oh wait, I'm at the back and EVERYONE ELSE IS PROBABLY SWEATING FFS.
  • Probably not as much as me, but yeah. Sweat happens.
  • HAHA, that song I just wanna make you sweat is the next track. Hysterical. It's like Snoop knew.
  • This song is supposed to go I just wanna make you wet, isn't it?!
  • Nobody is looking at me. Why was I worried about that? Of course they're not! It's so cool, everyone's wrapped up in their own thing. Everyone's working hard on themselves and making sure they nail every move. Nobody . Is . Looking . At . Me.
  • Whoa, the mythical exercise high is kicking in, I swear. I feel FLAWLESS.
  • Fuck yeah, body. You got this. SWIVEL, KICK, JAZZ HANDS.
  • C'mon, Grace. Sass, sass, sass. Squat harder. Punch higher. Push yourself. Slay.
  • I'M A SURVIVOR *punch* I'M NOT GON' GIVE UP *punch* I'M NOT GON' BLAH BLAH *punch* I'M GON' WORK HARDER!!! *punch**punch*
  • Wow, now my arms KILL. Will this move tone me up? It hurts so bad, even though it's just rotating and stuff. Aeroplane movements, spinning...
  • Stretching now, must be nearly over. That went quick. But I'm glad, I was just starting to hurt.
  • That's an understatement. I HURT EVERYWHERE.
  • The instructor just complimented me. Aww. She must assume my operations I mentioned were on my appendix or something minor. Ha!
  • Holy shit. Good work, body. Let's drive home. *pats self on butt* 

I've decided that next pay day I'll be spending my spendable portion on body lovin' things. No, not those things, you filthy scuzzies. I mean I'll book in an upper body massage perhaps (my arms were CLICK-CLICK-CLICKING as I punched the air during the class), get my legs waxed, research my local salons for a really good (and preferably super affordable) hairdresser, buy more work AND casual clothes...I'll treat myself and my body. Because it's earned it.

So yes, this class, this epic return to Zumba'ing, was a triumph. I will hopefully continue with it – and maybe another class here and there, but not too many because, shit, it costs a fair bit of dolla...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: love your damn body. Treat it like the awesome source of life it is – remember it contains all your bits and bobs, your ticker and your breathers, your booze sponge and thought box. Don't abuse it. Lecture over. Let's hug. 


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