So I’ve been there before.
My wife, Lisa, has, in our 34 years of marriage, brought home fitness plans like a cat brings home dead birds it has proudly caught.
There was the time in the late 1970s when she got up one morning at about 6 and turned on the TV, while I rolled over for some more sleep.
In my slumber, I heard something that sounded like jumping up and down, and then I wasn’t sure if my sleep was letting me hear correctly, but I soon was hearing sounds of something that resembled a person throwing up.
I was hearing correctly.
Then there was aerobic dance. We had the tapes for that, Beta and VHS.
And then came one with the 4-foot-10 taskmaster from our VCR ordering my wife to constrict her muscles even more, something called Callenetics.
There was the nice neighborly-type woman offering a walking video with the weights. She also had a complete line of Christian exercise videos as well. Didn’t know that at the time.
Tae-Bo? We have the entire DVD system.
We bought a used personal gym, so portable that it fits under a person’s bed, but it proved lousy as a place to hang shirts.
There was the cross-country skiing machine, which could hold two freshly laundered shirts and six bath towels in style, and that I fell off of regularly.
We shared that memorable evening right after we had our satellite dish installed, when I found her on the living room sofa watching this shirtless, overly-hyper muscleman doing something called “Hip Hop Abs.”
While I was reading in the kitchen, I heard her clicking away at the laptop.
Before I could say OMG! she had ordered the entire Hip Hop Abs DVD set and nutritional program.
This time, I worked out with her in our living room doing Hip Hop Abs for a couple of months … and then I heard a pop come from somewhere in my leg between a hip and a hop.
The knee surgery went well, and we were able to give Hip Hop Abs to my daughter as a present.
Lisa and her friends started going to something called Zumba at the JCC.
First time she came home, she was schvitzed. Her hair was all over the place, but she had this giddy smile I’ll never forget.
Pretty soon, she was getting up early in the morning to get to the JCC. She’d take Zumba in the middle of the week, in the evenings, in the morning.
At Shabbat lunches, the women there often dominated the conversation about Zumba.
They’d mention the first names of their teachers as if they were rabbinic leaders.
So finally, I decided it was time to meet this Zumba.
Zumba supposedly is Spanish for, “It hums.”
No longer wearing the knee brace from the knee surgery, and a year into a yoga and meditation class, I came to Lynn Rosen Stone’s Zumba class Sunday at the Owings Mills JCC.
The exercise room was packed. Lynn, who brings high energy, amazing dancing skills and patient encouragement to someone like me who can’t dance, brought the place to life.
She got us all up and moving in a hurry. Funny thing, though, the 11-12 class was the fastest hour I can remember. I stood behind my wife, Lisa. First I’d watch Lynn’s dance moves, then I’d try and do whatever Lisa was doing. My biggest fear was not that I’d hurt myself, but that I’d bump into someone and spoil their exercise.
One doesn’t have to know what Zumba’s definition means before stepping into the room. There is no better word than “Zumba” to describe the exercise.
Admittedly, I was first afraid to put my arms in the air or pretend that I was even dancing. But as one Zumba teacher said to me before I tried this, “If you’re moving, you’re dancing.”
So I wouldn’t call what I did dancing.
I did do plenty of moving around.
When I came home I think I had that same look on my face that my wife Lisa brings home each time she does Zumba.
Best thing, I exercised.
But it doesn’t come with anything I can use to hang my clean shirts or stack any towels.
— Phil Jacobs