The Key to Exercise – Finding An Activity That Fits You

Written by Bettina M. Straight, Employee Engagement  & Communications Consultant at LifeBridge Health

After my bariatric surgery in July of 2010 I knew I needed to incorporate exercise into my new lifestyle. The scale started moving in the right direction due to my new eating patterns and exercise was my ticket to even greater health and weight loss. TRUE CONFESSION: For the first 6 months I didn’t do any formal exercise. First of all, shame on me - but it’s the truth so I’ll own it. What I did do, however, was move more than I did when I was morbidly obese and that in and of itself helped for awhile. I took the stairs more, got up during commercials to do some dishes, change the laundry, straighten up something upstairs… it all helped me get my body moving until I was ready to do more.

In March of 2011 my partner forwarded me an email about a class called Drums Alive that was taking place at a local gym. Armed with a pair of drum sticks you stood behind an exercise ball that was on a stand and you drummed to music. It sounded fun but I was not a member at that gym and didn’t have the $65 a month it cost to join. Fast forward two short weeks and Groupon had a deal for 5 yoga or Drums Alive classes for only $12 and it was at a fitness center just 10 minutes from my house - no membership required! I had no excuses, so I made the purchase and the next week I vowed to go.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the class was that there were women of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and experience there. Some were fit and 50 and some were getting fit in their 20s. Some looked nervous and a little unsure of things like me, and others were chatting with folks they knew. I went alone and told myself it was good that I was doing something just for me and that I could handle one class, couldn’t I? Who knew I could fall in love with a class in only one hour!

Bettina with Patrick Leonard, Owner of Universal Fitness and Drums Alive Instructor.

Four months later if you need me on a Tuesday or a Thursday (or Saturday’s if we’re in town) you had best put on some shorts and a t-shirt and meet me at the gym!  Two to three times a week I am squatting, lunging, jumping and drumming along with others who have found Drums Alive to be their key to exercise. It took me 2-3 classes to get into the routine and I admit, I felt really uncoordinated at first, but it didn’t take long before I caught on and was keeping up. Our instructor Patrick doesn’t stop for 45 minutes and by then I am completely drenched, breathing hard, and enjoying that wonderful endorphin kick that exercise gives me.

View of the drums.

A few weeks ago I was picked to come in front of the class and “drum a song” with Patrick and it reinforced my interest in becoming a certified instructor, an idea that is both thrilling and seemingly insane to me considering I’ve only been at it for a few months. I am by no means a gym rat, a hard body, or a fitness guru. What I am is a woman pushing 40 who has found an exercise that is fun, challenging, low impact and calorie burning that keeps me coming back.

Here's a video of Patrick teaching a Drums Alive class at Universal Fitness in Baltimore (Bettina is also in the video):

My treadmill in the basement never stood a chance - being in a group class is the most effective way for me to exercise so I’m going to stick with it. Every week I invite friends to join me and every now and then a familiar face will show up but even if they don’t - I’m the one welcoming new faces to my Drums Alive class, knowing that it might just be the work out that makes it all click for someone like it did me.

For more information on Drums Alive visit:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/15/AR2011031502594.html

Read Bettina's previous post titled Taking Back Life One Pound at a Time

To schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians and find out why LifeBridge Health is Baltimore's premier health care organization, call 410-601-WELL.

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2 Responses

  1. Good for you! I agree finding something you like is what works. Drum's alive is so much fun. I am a Zumba addict personally. I am sure you feel so much better now that your fit. Congrats!
  2. Maddy
    Yay you! Go grrl! What a happy story. Mine is eerily parallel insofar as I never thought I'd become a fitness instructor just shy of turning 51. And how what I do involves others, spreads joy, camraderie and probably there's a bit of DNA flinging going on as we perspire :-) All that to say, I FEEL YOU, GRRL! You look fabulous, healthy, vibrant and shiny. So great to see you thusly. Keep drumming. Keep moving. I have discovered that it truly is the fountain of youth. love, Maddy

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