Why I Tried One Zumba Class And Will Never Go Back

I tried to ignore it but the class schedule I brought home from the gym was taunting me. I meant to throw it away but for some reason I didn't. A sign, I thought: Why don't I try expanding my horizons? What would be the harm with stepping off my elliptical machine and stepping into a world where I danced and swayed?

And that's how I wound up in my first -- and only -- Zumba class.

I walk in and immediately feel old. The women are my daughter's age, they look revved up and, as they would say, "super" excited about this "amazing" class. I smile, say hi, and stand in front of the largest mirror I have ever seen. I say to myself you can do this. Remember, you love to dance.

Out of nowhere a Latin rhythm starts pumping. I shift my deer-in-the headlight eyes away from the mirror and slowly turn toward the door -- and catch a glimpse of the shapely figure now closing that door.

She's out of Central Casting. She's got the midriff thing going -- as in there's nothing there. She's got the chest thing going --as in she's hanging out of her tight, skimpy spandex number. I'll let you picture the rest.

"Ok, ladies, it's time to Zumba! Let's move it to the right!" Which right, I say to myself. I finally get the move and just when I'm thinking I can do this, she screams, "Let's step it up!" Step what what? I was just getting used to THIS. But no. Now we're turning, now we're clapping, now we're shaking, now I feel like I have two, maybe three left feet.

What is wrong with me? Why can't I do what I used to do? Jazzercise and aerobic classes back in the 80s and 90s were the best -- with those predictable cool moves and that great rock music! Now, I'm thinking get me out of here.

But I look at the clock and I have 55 minutes to go.

It dawns on me: as the years go by I feel like I'm holding a balancing rod walking a tightrope. I try something new and potentially exciting. Sometimes I overreach and slip. And sometimes I lose my confidence. Eventually I hop back on reminding myself that what I'm experiencing is normal and just part of the aging process. I take the advice I give my clients -- be grateful for what you can do and don't beat yourself up!

I have good news in case you're wondering -- I made it through the Zumba class. But the better news is I gathered what was left of my self esteem and took it -- and my aching body -- out that door and said to myself: time to move on, adios and no hasta luego!

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

8 Exercises to Reduce the Effects of Aging