And therein lies the problem: Choosing to move in ways that feel punishing so you can burn the most calories is very strategic if you have a short-term goal. But if your goal is to maintain physical activity over a lifetime and reap the multitude of benefits it brings, try to refocus and start choosing to move in ways that feel good to you. That’s because the best determinant of sustainability is not how much weight you hope to lose but how participating in physical activities makes you feel in the moment.
–from No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness by Michelle Segar
The last time I took a formal dance class was over twenty years ago. I showed up with a feeling of excitement. Even the fact that I was the only one dressed in pink (the other modern dance students were clad in black leotards) didn’t phase me. It was only afterwards when the instructor took me aside to hand me a photocopied diet that I realized my foolish blunder.
I’ve always loved to dance. My mother was a serious athlete who pounded the pavement for miles and miles throughout my childhood. She would train seriously on the weekends. Then she became an accomplished equestrian when she hit her forties. My father, on the other hand, hardly exercised at all. However, on the weekends he would buy what he would call “running donuts” in my mother’s honor. (Of course, the two of us partners in crime would enjoy the donuts without including any running.)
I played on the basketball team in junior high, then ran on the track team for two years in high school. These weren’t fun activities, but I liked the group spirit.
So as a middle-aged adult, I feel I should make a statement and “go for it” and train for some monumental competition. But I’ve found that I really only enjoy movement accompanied by music, in the form of long walks with my headphones or Zumba classes.
So this year, I am going to sign up for tango lessons. I’ve found a local school. All I have to do is show up. However, this time I promise not to wear pink.