Out of My Comfort Zone



In the past, I was something of a fitness buff. Enticed into aerobic exercise by Jane Fonda and her workout videos, I started regular workouts and was amazed at how much better I felt. Even during pregnancy and after childbirth, I would find ways of keeping fit. Today at age 58, I am proud to say that I am reasonably healthy, am not overweight, and have excellent blood pressure.

But my enthusiasm for hard workouts has waned over the years. High impact aerobics and running have given way to power walks and yoga. Yet I fear that I have gotten a bit too comfortable in my routine. So this weekend I am shaking things up.

I have the great good fortune to be spending four days with my daughter at Canyon Ranch, a health and wellness resort in warm and sunny Tucson, Arizona. At first I planned to content myself with walks and hikes in the desert air and some gentle yoga. But when I arrived and found the variety of choices for exercise, I decided to leave my comfort zone and try new things.

Yesterday I did a Zumba class for the first time. I felt a little clumsy, but the class made me reminisce about my days as a Jazzerciser. It was a lot of fun, even if I didn’t exactly look like Beyonce out there. Today I tried indoor cycling. This would seem to be an easy choice, but my derriere begs to differ. I also pushed myself aerobically much harder than I would have even on my fastest walks. Future challenges I plan to take on include strength training, a posture class, and different styles of yoga. I plan to avoid the Pilates studio, though, because it still resembles a medieval torture chamber, if you ask me.

The other aspect of my health this resort is challenging is my diet. The emphasis here is on portion control and healthy choices without a lot of added fat or sugar. I am finding that I can still enjoy meals and have a little dessert without feeling the need to binge on unhealthy snacks. I am hoping this realization stays with me when I return home and have to prepare meals for myself and my family.

My daughter has been the perfect partner for me in this endeavor. Herself a healthy eater and avid exerciser, she encourages me and applauds my efforts. (She also took that photo of me in the cycling studio.) I feel so lucky to be in this beautiful, warm, and perpetually sunny locale with her. Tomorrow we are going on a hike in the nearby mountains, and I can’t wait to check out the wildflowers and giant saguaro cacti.

Getting away has been a perfect excuse for me to reinvent myself and approach age 60 with a healthy mind, body, and spirit. I hope to keep surprising myself with what I can do when I step out of my comfort zone.