Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

20 Loves

I facilitate workshops. They might be writing workshops or self-care workshops or workshops on a variety of topics. One strategy I like to use is called “20 Loves”. It comes from Sid Simon’s work on Values Clarification. 
After jotting down 20 things I love to do, in no particular order, I think about them and what they mean to me. For this next Writers of Kern Blog Challenge, I’ll be writing about some of the items on my 20 Loves list.

20 Loves, Part 1:  Zumba!  

I look around the room, full of bodies gyrating to the loud, pulsing beat that streams from the overhead speakers at BodyX Fitness in Bakersfield. I’m the oldest person in the group. But that doesn’t stop me from circling my hips, shaking my shoulders, or rolling my torso. True, I don’t look like the girls in the videos, or like my classmates or the  instructor up front, but I am having fun. I am in the mix. On Zumba days, I look forward to going to the gym. It’s so much fun, like a party, I forget that I’m exercising. Some of us even applaud after each song.

The first time I heard about Zumba was a few years ago when a Bakersfield yoga instructor, who was also a belly dancer, told a few of us that she was taking classes to become an instructor. “Zumba? What’s THAT?” we asked. The following summer, my first taste came in Paula’s class at Downtown Health & Fitness in Coos Bay. That day, I fell in love with Zumba.

The music may be Latin, pop, country, hip-hop, contemporary, or folk. We’re doing dance steps -- salsa, cumbia, samba, merengue, cha-cha, and mambo -- alongside exercise moves like jumping jacks, squats, and bicep curls. Belly dance moves and folk dance steps infiltrate the choreography. Each number is choreographed by our instructor, or by those great Zumba fitness dancers in the sky, specifically for a particular song. But, each leader, and each participant, brings her own flavor to the routine.

Nicole's Friday morning Zumba class
Courtesy of Nicole

In an hour of non-stop movement during Zumba, a person burns from 350-700 calories. It all depends on the effort she puts into it. Higher jumps and steps and larger movements use more calories than if one’s feet stay close to the floor. Zumba is forgiving; all styles, all ages, all levels of athleticism can join in and get a workout that’s just right for them. 

At the end of one recent session, our 40-something instructor, Nicole, plays her cool-down song. Elvis’s voice serenades us as we slow our steps to match one of his hits. Surveying the large, sweaty, smiling group of women, I think, I’m probably the only one here who saw Elvis in person on his first national tour back in the 50s. I recall that day filled with the screams of crazed teen-aged girls, including mine. 

Nearly sixty years later, I remember his hip movements and figure Elvis would have loved Zumba, too.    
~ xoA ~



  1. My exercise routine isn't quite as good as yours, and much more solitary. I do 45 minutes on a treadmill while listening to audio books downloaded from LibriVox. I wouldn't have nearly as much time for reading without this multitasking.

    1. That is a great way to have time for more books. And, the exercise that's right for each person is just right. Thanks, Mark. xoA

  2. I've seen the Zumba group at the gym. Do men do Zumba? I never see any. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. Yes, Dennis! Men do Zumba! In fact, a man named "Beto" Perez, from Columbia, originated Zumba. There have been several men in the various classes that I've taken, and for a time, a male was one of the BX instructors.

      See you on the floor? Thanks for writing. xoA

  3. Thanks for the lesson on Zumba. I'm trying to get back to the gym, but am intimidated by some of these classes. I'd do more huffing and puffing that swinging and jumping. But, you've encouraged me to at least give it a try.

    1. Go for it, Joan! It's so much fun. As our instructor Nicole says, "Have fun and don't take yourself to seriously." The whole thing is to keep moving. xoA

  4. I tried Zumba a couple of times; it nearly killed me! Of course I was (and am) hideously out of shape with no sense of rhythm. But it was fun! And even my uncoordinated flailing burned calories! :-D

    1. That's it! Just keep moving. When I first started, oh, it was a sight! But, I'm catching on and even catch myself counting the beats/steps on occasion. It's a fun way to get some exercise. And, I attribute losing two pants sizes to Zumba -- and to "sensible portion control". Thanks for writing, Anna. xoA