I was pretty familiar with ways to boost energy. Some of my bad habits included a jump-start morning coffee, a mid-afternoon sugary pick-me-up treat, and a 5:00 meltdown Diet Coke. I knew these habits were not good for me and I wanted something natural and good for my body. I found the secret.
When you are feeling tired or depressed, you may not think immediately about going to the gym but maybe you should. Exercise releases endorphins, which have been called “natural pain relievers.” Even on days when I just don’t feel like doing anything, there is a Zumba class that I know will boost my mood.
I walked into my Zumba class that day with dry and tired eyes, a slow pace, and an emotionless face. After one hour of aerobic activity through dance, I left a different person. Even as our instructor greeted us and music began to play, I could feel a weight lifting from my shoulders. I started to shimmy with the songs and a felt myself smiling. Our instructor, Natalie, was a graceful leader and although I looked nothing like she did doing the dance moves, I was having a blast. After following her lead, I was spinning, jumping, and doing moves like “the hammer,” “the chainsaw” and “tornado.” It was carefree, fun and energizing. I was sweating, breathing hard and feeling more confident with every Latin move. As my body warmed up and my muscles loosened, I felt strong and accomplished. The sadness was fading away.
We clapped and thanked our instructor when the class was over. We were dancers. Not all good dancers (at least in my case), but nevertheless, we were happy. I know that fitness and aerobic instructors realize that their job enables people to be healthier but I wonder if my Zumba teacher knew just how much her class helped me on that morning.