A new you: The benefits of exercise

 

When starting a fitness program of any type, you can imagine what the results will be – but it can be so much more! I originally started working out in a gym in my late 20s, a year after my first husband left me. I was depressed, gaining weight, and not being the mother I should have been to my daughter. It started with a simple plan – three days a week of 30-60 minutes of cardio followed by some weight training. The personal trainer helped me navigate the machines and set me up with a schedule. Within the first month I could see and feel a dramatic difference. In three years I went from a size 14 to a 4 and dropped 25 pounds of fat. I looked great and felt even better.

In that three year span I also met my second husband, and shortly after we were married, we moved out of state. Suddenly I was in a strange place with stranger people and not a decent gym in sight. The only ones close by were very expensive, yet they didn’t even look safe. I walked and did what I could at home, but it was a huge drop in activity and my body showed it. Of course, it didn’t help that I also found out I was pregnant the first month we were married.

After our daughter was born, I felt so lousy about myself that I found a YMCA 30 minutes away and made the journey there three to four times a week. It was difficult trying to make it work, and my body wasn’t cooperating. I saw very little change and my motivation just seemed to fade. Then I found out we were moving again – and I was also pregnant again.

This time there was a YMCA much closer, and when my son was three months old I started going three to four times a week. But now I had even MORE baby weight on me and two children who really didn’t want to be away from me. My “alone” time became a struggle, and my workout (and body, therefore) showed it. I actually fought with this for three and a half years before a massive change took place.

After all this time, and additional weight gain, the group fitness coordinator, Deane, introduced ZUMBA to the YMCA. Now, for a year she kept trying to get me to take a group class and I kept turning her down. I didn’t want to be the little fat girl who couldn’t keep up. But, I thought with a dance fitness class that I could handle that. I loved it! I joined in on all the demo classes and had a blast. Not only did I see some flab disappearing, but a chronic pain I had seemed to disappear overnight. I was loving this!

And then an amazing thing happened – Deane asked if I would be interested in teaching some classes. Immediately my introverted side said NO, but then I swear God slapped me on the back of the head. I told Deane to get me the information and that I’d think it over. Within and hour (and before I had any information) I knew this is what I was going to do. I signed up for training with a senior exercise program and then ZUMBA Gold. Within months I was teaching both – and loving it!

So here I am, just a few pounds lighter, but so much firmer, holding my head up and smiling, and pulling my shy self in front of groups of people three days a week to teach exercise classes! I never would have imagined. And the best improvement isn’t my body, but my mind and emotions. And with that, the physical improvements will fall into place. Just feeling better about yourself can be a HUGE motivator to continuing to exercise.

Exercise to lose those pounds, fit into that outfit, or face an old friend, but the emotional benefits you get from exercise will, most likely, be the biggest benefit of all.

 

www.zumbaexercise.info for Zumba workout

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