Having recently been at a conference for personal trainers and now trying to get more movement back in my life I have to say it
I am afraid to exercise
I know I shouldn’t be. I know how to do it. My body was made to exercise, dance, and move but I have so much fear around it. Even though I know how to dance I can’t bring myself to go to a social dance or take a dance class. I feel like I am so out of shape that I won’t be able to do even the simplest exercises. I will fail.
I have to keep reminding myself that this is not the case. At the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) conference I took a dance class there. It was a fun class but nothing nearly as challenging as what I usually would go to. I finished the class, barely breaking a sweat and not having a hard time breathing at all. The individuals next to me were dripping and huffing and puffing. Am I more in shape than I realize?
No, I am not. I just have different standards than the rest of the ACSM community. Having grown up with Russian Ballet and transitioned to being a contra dancer, the exercise community I have always been involved with has been at the highest level of physical exercise.
In exercise there are what are called METs, metabolic equivalency something or other. They are numbers put to different activities to know how difficult they are compared to each other. While resting and standing is at a 1-2, house work and gardening get you up to 4, going up lots of stairs can be around a 6 with weight lifting, then running for races at anything faster than a 15 minute mile, 8 and above. We all should be targeting our exercise for long term maintenance in the 5-6 area.
Well ballet is up there and contra dancing, ya that crazy super amazing fun dance that is also super easy, where do you think that is? Contra dancing is listed as an 8! WOAH!
So what does that mean? It means that it is a high intensity exercise that according to ACSM you only need to do 3-20 minute sessions of a week, plus additional stretching and strengthening exercises. Ok so a contra dance evening, usually about 3 hours with 10-12 dances each 10 minutes long totally hits that full 60 minutes of high intensity for the week, even if some of the dances are slower.
This is why I am scared to exercise. SO much of my previous experience with exercise has been at a high intensity and it is hard if you are not familiar with it. I didn’t realize I was as in shape as I was because I was not used to exercising at a moderate level but only at a high intensity. I feel better now considering going contra dancing and sitting out for a few dances. I am still reaching my recommended fitness levels in one evening.
Now this is not everything I need to do because to lose weight I have to exercise twice the guidelines, so 120 minutes of high intensity exercise or 300 minutes of moderate intensity a week. And I notice that other contra dancers don’t really lose weight either and that is because you can still not eat right and no changes will happen and not all contra dancers put in the full effort and come out with a high intensity work out but I do.
Thanks for letting me get this out. I hope it served you too. If you also want to work on improving your wellness visit The Dancing Herbalist website and if you are having pain associated with adding exercise to your routine consider trying The Dancing Herbalist’s topical herbal products like the Warming Salve and Arnica Cream.