Dancing on my own…a revelation!
OK, an introduction to me: female, a grandma, 61, overweight, unfit, don’t like exercise.
As a starter to my 2018 goals to ‘get more active’, I’ve been looking for some form of exercise that I can do safely and that I would actually enjoy. Now, dancing was initially struck first off my list because:
a) I HATE dancing…..don’t I?
b) Dancing isn’t exercise….is it?
My lifelong aversion to dancing started when I was around 9 years old and forced to attend ballroom dancing every Saturday morning. (What were my parents thinking?!!) Miss Gayle tried her best, but a roll of her eyes as I literally tripped past her observation spot confirmed what I already suspected…I’d never be asked to perform at ‘The Show’. The only highlight of these harrowing mornings was ‘snack time’ when we could buy sweets from the tuck shop. So, the result was a few more fillings, the belief that I was hopeless at dancing and the legacy of dance aversion. (I probably need therapy!)
Skip forward a few years and I was a teenager, cringing with embarrassment, as I shuffled round our handbags at the New Era Youth Club. By the time I was an adult, I had perfected, not my dancing, but a list of escape clauses whenever dancing was suggested on a night out: I’ll just get another drink first/ I’ve got a bad knee/ I’ll keep the table/watch the handbags/drinks.
A glutton for punishment, I even had a go at Zumba a few years ago. By week 2, I had realised that if I stayed at the back, no-one in front of me, especially the enthusiastic Zumba Instructor, could witness my humiliation. I suppose the common thread running through these traumatic experiences was my lack of self-confidence, (something many women suffer from.)
So yes, I was certain that dancing was simply another skill I lacked, like driving on motorways and hair-plaiting.
Anyway, dancing isn’t exercise….is it? Well, after a few minutes harnessing the powers of ‘Google, I was shocked to discover that it was a form of exercise recommended by the NHS* and The British Heart Foundation** for its numerous health benefits. Apparently, it’s great for losing weight, maintaining strong bones, improving posture and muscle strength, increasing balance and co-ordination, and beating stress!
I was watching my eight-year-old grand-daughter recently, ecstatically free-dancing around the room to Little Mix. She was happy in her own little world, and sweating like crazy. She didn’t flourish in the structured dance classes she had joined (and refused to attend when she realised that everyone seemed to be able to follow the teacher’s moves except her.) This was different, however. She was dancing on her own, creating her own moves, which actually looked fantastic and enjoying the freedom!
I finally have Camila Cabello to thank for getting me on my feet. You know, ‘Havana, ooh na-na.’’
It started playing one day when I was at home. Its catchy rhythm started me swaying and I closed my eyes. Before I knew it, I WAS DANCING! And what’s more, I WAS ENJOYING IT! No-one else’s moves to follow and get wrong; no-one watching to judge me; just me, in the moment, (well, several it’s a 4-minute workout!) By the end I was a little sweaty and out-of-breath, but those endorphins were whizzing round my bloodstream and I was ecstatic!
Now I’m searching for other tunes that I can dance and create my own, unique(!) moves to. So, if you’ve any suggestions, please comment below. I’m trying to do a dance a day and my aching muscles tell me dancing IS exercise and, guess what, I DO like dancing (on my own!)