Monday 1 June 2020

Get Up and Dance

A girl swings her long red hair, smiling
Photo by Johnny McClung on Unsplash

A few months ago, when isolation regulations were still feeling new, a friend sent me a funny dance tutorial by Joe Tracini, and said, “Try this.”

I was having a terrible day. I felt sad, hopeless, depressed. After all, I was trapped inside my flat with my three children, dog and husband for the foreseeable future. I was cut off from my friends, my running group (not mutually exclusive) and the active half of my income-generating work: my bootcamps and fitness classes. 

I still am. And I still feel pretty terrible. But, I digress.

I watched the video, smiled sadly, and wrote back, "Sorry, I just can't right now."

Everyone knows how strongly I feel about exercise and living a very active life. My mother has borne the brunt of this since I was in high school, but hey, science backs me up on every front. We should all -- ALL -- be exercising regularly.  Even little bursts of movement make you healthier in so many ways. It also makes you feel better. 

I know this.

I tell the kids this all the time. Movement, but especially dance, lifts the spirits. Go ahead: just try to do the running man for 30 seconds with a straight face. Or the Charleston. Or the Floss.* I dare you to dance and stay in a bad mood. You just can't.

So, I put on a Beachbody workout, sluggishly went through the motions for a few minutes. I didn't work out because I wanted to, but because a) I knew it would make me feel better, less angry, less sad, and b) I was on a workout program, and I'm nothing if not a rule-follower. Within ten minutes, I was feeling slightly more cheerful. I jumped and lifted and sweated, and I felt better after. Better enough to take on the dance challenge.

Nailed it.

So, hey you -- yes, you -- get up and move. Dance and be silly. Do some jumping jacks, followed by squats and your choice of pushup variations. You'll feel better for it, I promise.

More on the science:

"I Don't Need Anyone Pressuring Me to Work Out Right Now"

Remember when that photo of Adele went viral? A beautiful, incredibly-talented, successful woman and mother lost a lot of weight, and it broke the internet. People that have praised her new look have been vilified, because they must be celebrating looks and the diet culture over talent, are completely invalidating the rest of her accomplishments, and "skinny doesn't necessarily mean healthy".

*See how many generations I've got covered there? 

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