When I decided to do this series of blog posts about trying new things on campus, I knew that it would come to this. Until this weekend, I had never been to a gym. I’ve only ever been in the Athletic Centre to write exams, and I suspect I’m not the only one.
I was pretty active in high school as a member of the badminton team, which involved four practices a week and regular games. But when I moved to Toronto for university, this all fell by the wayside. I knew that I wasn’t good enough to continue playing competitively, and my racket stayed in my closet instead of joining me for intramurals or a casual game.
Honestly, I think this had something to do with the fact that I prided myself as “not being into sports” while growing up. I was more interested in academics and music, and my lack of enthusiasm for all things sweaty differentiated myself from the people around me. It became a habit to choose staying in with a book over going out and being active.
I definitely understand the value of getting up and moving around. I know the health benefits. I feel how much more energetic and focused I feel after going on a long walk, the one form of physical activity I do often engage in. So, I decided to take advantage of free access to the Hart House gym for National Health and Fitness Day on Saturday. Time to get over my fitness inertia!
Rather than venturing onto the exercise equipment on my own, I decided to participate in one of the drop-in classes offered over the course of the day. I didn’t know much about Zumba, but had heard it was a lot of fun (my grandma takes classes in it and learned “Gagnam Style”!), so I decided to give it a shot. It’s a work-out that incorporates “dance and aerobic elements” from styles like hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa and more. So basically, a bunch of things I have never tried before!
The class took place in a room with a giant mirror on the wall, which at first was a little intimidating. I felt a little bit out of place since it was apparent that many of the other participants knew the choreography and were rather good at it. I tried my best to focus on following the moves, listening to the music and, most importantly, trying.
Much to my surprise, it worked. While I probably still looked like a complete beginner, I was able to lose myself in the music and have fun with it. After rehydrating myself and resting for 10 minutes at the end of the class, I definitely felt the endorphins kick in and felt alert for the rest of the day. Success!
I don’t think I’ll become a gym regular overnight, and my legs were definitely sore for days afterward. But hopefully this experiment will motivate me to get on my feet more often. I’m excited to give it a try.