Starting My Health Journal

ImageThis is my health Journal.

As I take Jazz Dance 1 this semester, I’m told that for part of our grade we have what’s called a “professionalism” rubric. It has cool stuff on it, such as being punctual and that kind of thing. There’s lots on there, and this is just one component.

So when I found out that I would have to do this, I had the idea to write it on here. Thus, a new header up on the top hopefully.

So here is my first post, for my kind teacher and for all of you who might ever be curious. This is how I’m starting the semester :). Enjoy

Feb 6th, 2014. Entry 1

These are my newest objects of….meh, semi-obsession. As a distance runner, I’ve been constantly trying to step up my game. At age 24, I feel like I’m getting to a point physically where I’m able to do more and push myself harder with less chance for injury than ever before. Runner’s World magazine, as well as a host of other sources that I’ve scoured over the topic, point me to that. But here’s the problem. Take a look around you, just pause and look around, and see if you can see a wall. Now if you’ve eventually looked back at this post and are reading this, well then good, I haven’t lost you. Now consider this. That wall you just looked at…meh, it’s probably more flexible then me at the current moment. If each of us had to touch the floor while standing straight up, it’d probably be easier for that wall do it than it currently is for me. I hope that’s an exaggeration, but it might not be.

So here’s the point; I need to work on my flexibility. I knew that starting 2014. Now, I’m doing something about it. This semester, I’ve begun to practice Yoga. Just a basic, generic yoga while I look up and research different types and figure out if I actually like this stuff. I formally began my practice on January 27th when I signed up for the the 30-Day Challenge at DoYouYoga.com with Erin Motz. She’s a beast, a completely awesome teacher who bases her practice on the idea that Yoga can be for everyone; not just those who want to take it as a religion and not just for those who have hours a day to practice. Her videos are all under 30 minutes so far, (though I’m only on day 11 yet). She’s great though. As I go into Jazz Dance 1 with my beloved teacher every Tuesday and Thursday, I am reminded of how far I have to go as an athlete, and it’s something I love. I see these girls, and even some of the other guys, demonstrate flexibility in a way it will take me some time to achieve. And I love it. As a runner I’m not world class, but I have it down more or less, and now it’s just a matter of fine tuning it for me. Improving my diet, doing core work and other things to strengthen muscles that support my running, and that kind of thing.

Yoga though, now THAT is a process. And that’s what I like about it. And as I start my ‘practice’ and find myself loving the peace and solidarity of it, as well as the link that a student can have with one particular teacher’s style, I find more than anything that I love the process of it all together. That’s what has me hooked on dancing as well. Three weeks into class, and two weeks into my Yoga practice, I’m finding, by reading all that I can online, that Yoga isn’t a “can” or “can’t” thing, and I believe dance is the same way. It’s all what your body is ready for, and just because your body isn’t ready for it yet, that doesn’t mean it WON’T ever be if you continue to work at it. I guess this topic probably merits it’s own blog post, so I’ll step back off of it for now. But in the meantime, just know that I’ve started to work hard to improve myself physically this semester, harder than I’ve ever worked before, and starting to do Yoga is just one way.

Another way I’ve begun to live a healthier lifestyle this semester is in the workouts I’ve been going to in my evenings. The K-State Recreation Center has a number of different group fitness classes throughout the week. Typically they run heaviest in the evenings, which is good because my schedule is wide open most evenings. So what I’ve begun doing this semester is that I’ve been going to multiple ones most nights. For instance, Monday night I’ve been going to Zumba, which is then followed up by “Ab Attack” which is then followed up by “Butz & Gutz.” Essentially this means that at least on that night I’m working out more or less nonstop for 2 and a half hours, the later hour and a half of which is core and/or glute work. So far, in the two weeks since courses started up at the place, I’ve done this twice out of three days a week that the offer a set of three courses back to back to back.

And yes, I said Zumba.

Perfect segue into this one. Way number like 3(ish) that I’m working on living a healthier lifestyle this semester is that I’ve begun going to Zumba classes even more regularly than the other classes at the rec. Zumba is a challenge for me, much in the same way that Jazz Dance is, because I didn’t grow up doing it and so I have no ability (yet) to watch someone conduct a movement or series of movements and simply replicate them, which is something dancing requires, be it Jazz dance or Zumba. But although I probably stink at it, I do find myself having fun. The other people are more than receptive to me being there, even though I’m a dude and most other participants in that class are women. They don’t seem bothered, except maybe by my excessive apologizing for bugging them. Other than that, the experience has been great, and I really feel like I’m starting to get the hang of moving with the music and being lighter on my feet now that I’ve gone to about six or seven of these classes. And already it’s helping in my Jazz Dance class actually. Today, as we did our movements, I felt like I was having more fun and was following the music better with my movements even when I wasn’t performing the movements perfectly themselves. I’m excited for this, because not only am I getting a great workout in it, but I’m starting to learn skills I’ve never learned. Like with Yoga, I’m enjoying getting to explore the capabilities of my body with movements I never thought I’d try. I’m getting to learn what it can do, what it isn’t ready for yet, and I’m starting to coax it into new directions of ability that I’ve never known about before Zumba, Dance, or Yoga; let alone actually tried. It’s exciting, and very fun.

Also offered at the K-State Rec complex is the option to get a personal trainer. Depending on how many one hour sessions you want with one, you can pay a predetermined amount per session and get one-on-one training with a personal trainer there. These are all certified folks, and are all students at varying levels (or recent graduates in at least one case). In my case I’m actually lucky enough to train with one of the Zumba instructors! Part of why I made the $200 investment (in my specific case) was the idea that besides pulling out all the stops physically this semester in trying to improve myself physically, I wanted the one-on-one help to ensure I didn’t hurt myself. With running, I know more or less what type of pain is “tired/fatigue” pain, and what is “Stop that this second or you’ll be out for months” type pain. Not true at all with my core, back, or any other set of muscles not directly associated with, running and/or my legs. So it’s helpful to have someone there that is certified and has the anatomy knowledge which I lack to look over my shoulder. Plus, she has been introducing new exercises to me I’ve never tried or thought to try from fear of doing them wrong and risking injury. All workouts take place in the rec itself too, so the environment is great for focusing on just going for it!

Lastly, the fact is that I’m taking Jazz Dance. Believe it or not, I took that class because I wanted to start preparing to audition for the K-State Singers (my school’s show choir) later on in my college years. Now, as I get more into it and see how classes work, I see how amazing a core workout (compared to what I expected, which was just “good”) it is. Every day we do some pushups, some sit-ups and lots of ab stuff, in addition to lots of stretches. I love it, and I may very well become a dance minor at the end of this semester because of all the things I’ve mentioned above. This class, with everything I’m doing this semester, is showing me that there’s something wonderful and beautiful to the idea of being okay with yourself and just exploring who you are physically. The more I do all if it, the more excited I get to do more of it.

Maybe I’ll take Ballet next semester….Naw….let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. Lol. 😉

Thanks for reading… 🙂

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