Taking a new exercise class? Give it time

SHARE Taking a new exercise class? Give it time

Photo credit: Danielle Gardner/For the Sun-Times

It took five weeks before I could keep the hula hoop up in my weekly class. Five weeks of me having it at my waist for mere seconds before it dropped to the floor again. And again. This despite having spent entire summers of my youth with a hula hoop around my waist.

But all of a sudden it clicked and I was hooping. At my class this week, I was hooping and catching a ball as well as hooping, walking and clapping. I wasn’t the best in the class, far from it, but who cares? I was doing it.

Why am I telling you this? Because right now a lot of you are taking exercise classes for the first time. You are feeling like a klutz because you’re a little clumsy and are having a hard time keeping up. Maybe you’re failing miserably, just like I was with the hula hoop.

Keep going.

The only way you will get better is to return again and again. And you will get better. If you pay attention each week, you will start getting the moves, whether you’re in Pilates, Zumba or, like me, hula-hooping. Oh, let me tell you about me and Zumba; I wasn’t paying attention once in a new class and during a weave-step fell flat on my butt. Luckily nothing but my pride was injured. Did I stop going to that class? Heck no. I laughed, got up and started dancing again.

My performance aside, do not let the ability of others in the class discourage you. You have no idea how long they’ve been taking the class. As I told a woman who was feeling frustrated in my weekend line dancing class: Some of us have been taking that class for three years. Yes, by now we should know what to do with our feet. If she keeps coming, she will too. (Note to anyone new to line dancing: Stand in the middle. You never know when the class is going to turn around and those in the back row are now in the front, with no one to follow.)

Don’t worry about what others in the class are thinking. Most likely they are just concentrating on themselves. They may be good, but they are trying to get better. Just like you.

If you do something, like turn left when everyone else is going right, don’t worry. Laugh it off and just keep going.

(I will say this though, that if after coming you decide one particular class or teacher isn’t for you, go ahead and find another.)

Exercise is a great way to build muscle, strength, balance and coordination. I don’t think you’ll find a better stress reliever.

No matter what class I take, I walk out happy. You will too. Keep going!

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