I know I've talked about it before, but I am super enamoured with Zumba. What's not to love? It's a solid hour of high-impact jumping-around-like-an-idiot—the sort of thing that used to be called aerobics, before aerobics became not very cool anymore—and it has so far managed to be the only physical activity about which I haven't thought, a few minutes prior to doing it, "oh god, I don't want to do this."
I am not a runner. I am not a mountain biker. The only sweat I'd ever break if I were forced to participate in team sports as an adult would be a cold one of anguish and fear. I like walking and I like the elliptical machine—well, insofar as anyone can like the elliptical machine, which is pretty much at a level of "eh, I guess it helps my jeans fit"—but I had not, until I discoverd Zumba, found a physical activity that I loved.
And I love Zumba. I love that you don't stop moving for the entire class, so your brain doesn't even have a chance—like it does, say, on the elliptical machine—to think hey, screw this, I'm out and stop doing it. I love that you have to pay total attention to follow the moves and keep up with the routine, and on the rare occasion that you intuit what the instructor's going to do next and do it in perfect sync with her, you feel like goddamn Beyonce. I love that it's a little bit like a step class and a little bit like an aerobics class and a little bit like a salsa class and a hip-hop class and a Bollywood class. I love that my Saturday morning session at the YMCA has over a hundred people in it and my Thursday evening one at work has about six. God forgive me, but I love that I get a weekly opportunity to see an octagenarian bust a move to "Getting Nasty."
I'm sorry, is this starting to sound too much like a Zumba informercial? A Zumbamercial? Am I going to walk into my next class and find it's been turned into a Zumbavention? Now listen, Holly, we need to have a conversation—ahem, a Zumbasation—about the enthusiasm with which you grapevine. It's too much. It's putting the rest of us off.
The one thing I don't love about Zumba—and I'm getting the impression that I probably need to find one so that I don't appear totally brainwashed—is that the songs get stuck in my head like crazy. Why does this happen? Why do I get to the grocery store and can't remember what I came in for, and yet the unnamed song from our cool-down routine at the end of class is looping around and around in my head without pause? The other day I walked into a restaurant and recognized the Latin number on the radio and couldn't work out why, and then my feet, I kid you not, started automatically merengue-ing—don't get too impressed, it's basically just stepping left then right then left then right—and I thought Zumba! We do this one in Zumba! and I had to physically restrain myself from adding in the arms part too.
You know that phrase "dance like nobody's watching"? Hate to break it to you but people are totally watching. They're watching and they're not thinking damn, that girl can merengue, they're thinking did she just start shuffling backwards and forwards to the music while waiting in line for her burrito? Honey, keep an eye on your purse.
Zumba, man. Practice it at your own risk. Side effects include a Pavlovian response to rhythmic music in a public place.