Grateful for Zumba Shoes

I have been doing Zumba for 9 months now. The first months were difficult as I struggled not only with the choreography, but also with catching my breath. However, I persevered and have come to love this form of exercise. There have been moments when I am truly dancing and am able to move to the music as I did all those years ago before I began my journey into Motherhood.

One of the things I have struggled with is the ability to move my feet sideways without hurting my feet and knees. The tread of the running shoes causes my foot to ‘stick’ to the floor. I used to think longingly of my ballroom shoes with their suede soles as they helped me move easily across the floor.

While waiting for class a few weeks ago, a few of us were talking with the teacher about shoes (she, of course, wears the correct Zumba shoes) and she mentioned that her shoes does not have the tread that the running shoes have. My decision made, I went online and shopped at for footwear.

My package arrived last Friday.

The package has arrived! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

With much excitement I opened the box and admired my new shoes.

My Zumba shoes. Stylish! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I enjoyed the shoe box as well and appreciated the statement printed in bold on it.

I have worn the shoes at two classes and have enjoyed dancing in them. My movements are easier now and the bonus is my feet do not ache as much – and neither do my knees.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for modern conveniences

Lavender Ladi was grateful for the scent of Spring

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning everyone. Hope you are well this Saturday. It is gloomy outside and walking about the streets requires an umbrella today. Not the perfect weather but at least it is warmer than it was in the beginning of the week.

This week it was FREEZING in my classroom – so cold I was tempted to wear my gloves to keep my hands warm. It felt warmer outside even though the temperatures outside weren’t too high either. The second week of April is when the heating is switched off in the school and the next few weeks will not be pleasant until the building warms up naturally. In the meantime even the children are wearing sweaters – and the tissue box is handy.

On Monday night our Zumba instructor was unable to teach – and they could not get a substitute. Instead we had a BodyAttack class – it is a high impact class featuring a lot of running and strength exercises. He said he would go easy on us. I don’t know what difficult is because the class was HARD! A good experience, even though my body ached for three days afterwards.

I was grateful that we had a short working week. I felt tired and knowing this fact kept me going strong. Yesterday I did a lot of resting and I feel much better today.

Now I am off to Zumba. I am really enjoying the classes and have reached the point where I keep hearing the music in my head. I remember when I used to dance – I would hear the music in my head and dance in my head as well. I am sure that once I know the choreography, I will be doing Zumba in my mind while I am walking, and in my  sleep!

Doing Zumba has definitely helped me with my sleep. It is rare now that I lie awake for hours in the early hours of the morning. I like that I sleep well and begin a day well-rested. When I am not tired I do have more patience with the children I teach and with my family members. I do not see myself stopping this form of exercise. And the bonus is that I do not need a partner to continue it!

After my exercise class, I will get things ready and do a little shopping for tomorrow’s dinner. I enjoy our Sunday family dinners – and the bonus will be that Monday is no school 🙂

I wish you a wonderful Easter Sunday with your family (if you celebrate this holiday). Do not eat too many of those chocolate eggs!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)

A New Streak

For Christmas my husband bought me a pedometer to help me with my efforts to lose weight. I set my goal at 8000 steps per day and, as I work at a school very near my home, I need to make an effort to reach it. Reaching my target is easy when I have a Zumba class but on the days I do not exercise in a group class, I need to do a little extra walking.

This week I hit a new steak – 13 consecutive days in which I reached more than 8000 steps. I feel quite a sense of accomplishment. And I am smiling! 🙂 I broke my streak yesterday as I felt too cold to go out and walk those extra 500 steps. No matter, I now have the goal to beat my record.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Let’s Zumba!

Women, and a few men, moved through the glass doors into the open space and gravitated to their spots. I hung back, choosing a space near the closed doorway. Self-consciously I pulled my t-shirt down and breathed an internal sigh of relief as I noticed that I was not the only overweight person in the room older than 30. I had steeled myself for months to join this class. Twenty years ago I would have been one of those women who walked through the door with confidence. But now? I knew I would not be able to keep up the pace.

Image result for zumba“Welcome to Zumba. If you are are here for the first time, don’t worry if you can’t keep up. Put your feet to the ground, move to the music, and have fun!”

Five minutes later I was looking at the clock. My breathing was laboured, my heart was racing, and it was difficult to move my feet at the speed of the instructor’s. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. I kept at it, determined that I would once again move like I did twenty years ago. Not only did I want to lose my excess weight, but I also wanted to regain my fitness.

The class ended with sweat dripping down my face. I had not been able to keep up – the moves were unknown to me, and many of them were fast. But I finished. And decided to go back for more.

It had been seventeen years since the last time I had done any type of cardio exercise. I chose to do Zumba because it is a dance-based exercise and I have always loved dance. It is not quite the same as what I used to do when I danced Latin and Ballroom but in joining a Zumba class I can move rhythmically to the music.

I danced my first Zumba class six months ago – and now no longer look at the clock after five minutes. My legs are stronger and I am therefore able to do most of the moves. I still get lost with the choreography, but not as often. I have not lost weight, but have lost centimetres. I join a class twice a week when I am able – and would go more often if there were more classes available at my local gym.

I love it! Zumba is definitely for me. During the winter months, the obstacle I have to overcome is getting there. It is not pleasant leaving the warmth of our home to walk through frigid temperatures to the gym. In the argument to myself, I always bring up my word of the year: Discipline.

Have you tried a Zumba class?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

An Exercise Update

Each weekday I open the door to our home and I breathe a sigh of relief. I feel weary to the bone and I long to sit on the sofa for a while in silence and think of nothing. My children know to give me 5 minutes rest before they bombard me with “Mommy, can you sign this?”, “Mommy can you help me?”, “Mommy look what I got for my test”.

Working with 5 year olds tires me out: my voice is croaky at the end of the day, and I am beat. The last thing I wish to do is go out again, one hour after I have arrived home, to walk to Taekwondo with my girls. Yet when the time comes, I get them ready to go knowing that the exercise will do them good. On our walk to the dojang, I hear some stories about the girls’ day. At the moment it is getting a bit chilly, so we walk briskly – exercising on our way to some formal training.

Arriving at the Taekwondo school, we are greeted by friendly faces and smiles. Each time we enter the place where we exercise, I know we made the right decision to enrol there. The school has a friendly and inviting atmosphere that is welcoming and comforting to my children.

When the exercises begin, my heart starts pumping. I am fitter than I was when I began in May – though I still get out of breathe and struggle at times to keep up with the young members of the school. As I exercise, though, I feel my weariness slip away from me bit by bit. At the end of the class, sweat trickling down my brow, I feel a satisfaction in the fact that I have moved my body and that my movements are improving.

I leave the class feeling invigorated and ready for the walk home. When I lay my head on my pillow to sleep, I quickly drift off. A bonus of exercise, for me, is that I do not struggle to fall asleep on the days I have exerted myself physically.

Do you have an inner battle with yourself before going to exercise?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

An Unexpected Exercise Regime

A ballroom dancing couple. Illustration by Dav...
A ballroom dancing couple. Illustration by David Göthberg & Co, Sweden.  Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My exercise of choice used to be Ballroom Dancing. I loved moving my body to the sound of music and thrilled in my ability to move gracefully across the dance floor. I spent hours with my dance partner perfecting the movements of the dance; and spent many hours with a high impact aerobics instructor in order to be “dance fit”. My aim was to compete in five dances, one after the other, and make it seem effortless. I could not imagine exercising without moving to the rhythm of music.

Fifteen years later I have had two children and dancing has become a part of my “before-children” phase. A firm believer in the benefits of exercise for growing children, I have walked my children to swimming lessons, skating lessons, and (on request) Tae Kwon Do (TKD) lessons. Each week I have taken them to our local community centre so that they can get their weekly quota of exercise in order to grow physically strong.

In January of this year, my husband and I decided our girls needed more marshal arts training than they were getting at the community centre. They needed to take the sport seriously and learn to perfect their form. We enrolled them in a TKD dojang (school) and have seen them blossom under the tutelage of their new Master and instructors.

But what about me? I fell into the trap that many mothers fall into: the trap of looking after the health of the family and not my own. My exercise regime suffered. My own physical activity consisted of walking my daughters to their lessons; and trying, sometimes successfully, to follow a DVD at home early in the morning before the household awoke. No longer was I exercising for up to 2 hours a day. Instead, I have watched my children partake in their lessons, praised them and encouraged them, watched physical activity from the sidelines. I have felt proud of my children’s achievements and progress, and celebrated with them each small success.

“What about mum?” the TKD Master asked me one day after a lesson. “You are here, try it.” She encouraged me to join in, noticing that I often watched with interest the participants in her class. “Maybe you will like it. It will help you with your weight, and give you energy to be with the kids.” (She knew I am a teacher of young children). I knew on some level that I was neglecting my own physical fitness but, secretly, I hoped to one day dance again. Realistically I knew that it would not happen for a long time, not while I had children dependant on me to take them to their physical activities. And in the meantime? I gained weight, and lost the fitness that I once used to enjoy. I decided to take the Master up on her challenge and join the other adults I had watched exercise with their children.

Four months ago I donned the white uniform of the TKD student. As I tightened my white belt around my waist, young voices of encouragement echoed in my mind: “You can do it mommy! I know you can!” The voices of the instructors joined those of my children as they encouraged me to do sit-ups, push-ups, and even cartwheels.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
The Tae Kwon Do uniform. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I will not tell a lie and say that the classes were easy. I am not supple and struggled to even touch my toes. My heart beat races after the first few minutes of cardio. Often during the class I am left breathless as I strive to keep up with those fitter and younger than me. And yet … I revel in the aching muscles and physical fatigue that helps me sleep at night. I welcome learning movement again albeit without the sound of rhythmic beats. I am learning slowly to master the movements, the exercises and patterns, the Korean terms.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Attaining the TKD yellow belt. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I felt pleased when I attained my next belt and wore the colour proudly. My children helped me learn the new patterns, and I practised a little each day when I woke up. I have slowly begun to feel stronger – certainly the muscles in my legs are getting firmer. I am surprised at how many push-ups I am now able to do (I can now do more than one!). I have reached my toes in the stretches and am now working on touching my head to my knees. I enjoy the camaraderie of the classes and still watch in admiration those who have attained a higher belt.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013
Testing for orange belt. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

I have just completed the test for my orange belt and feel I am now on a TKD journey. Each time I tie my belt around my waist, not only am I showing that I have attained the next level and am committed to this marshal art, but also that I have made a commitment to my own physical exercise and well-being. And the next best thing? I am exercising with my children – both in the classroom, and when we practise together at home.

Have you ever fallen into an unexpected exercise regime?

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to Write)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2013

Walking is Free!

“I do not have the money to exercise.”

“Joining a gym is so expensive!”

Have you heard these excuses? Or even used them yourself? Starting your journey towards fitness does not require you to join a gym, or even a sports club. Walking is free and costs you nothing except your time: you can walk in your neighbourhood, or on a track at the nearest community centre. In addition, this exercise can be spread throughout your day; and you can go at the speed that is best suited for your fitness levels!

Walking is low impact which makes it the perfect exercise: it does not require you to push yourself to the limits and injure your body. And if you suffer from knee pain, no exercise could be better.

Walking for exercise does not mean a slow stroll in the park, or browsing in the shopping mall. What it means is walking briskly so that your heart rate increases. Swing your arms energetically when you walk – and move with your head up high. Breathe in deeply and enjoy the movement you are making.

When you begin your exercise routine, start with short-term goals. Begin walking for 10 minutes each day, and slowly increase the time each week. Once you have incorporated walking into your daily routine and it has become a habit, increase the length of time up to 30 minutes.

You can use a pedometer to track the number of steps you walk each day. Adding more steps to your daily goal will also increase the time you spend each day on this physical activity. Aim to walk 10 000 steps per day. You can build up to this goal slowly and within a time frame suitable to you.

Sometimes you may need help to stay motivated to exercise. A walking buddy may help: a friend, someone you live with, your neighbour, or even a colleague. Walking a dog will also give you a good opportunity to exercise. If you do not have a dog, offer to walk someone else’s – they may take on your help eagerly! Walking in new surroundings may also encourage you to continue walking. I find looking at houses, or walking on trails, detracts my attention from the physical effort I am making. And the time seems to go by faster.

Walking on the tradmill is perfect for those extra early morning walks during the winter cold months. When walking on the simulated hills, I use an mp3 player. The music I listen to is upbeat, high energy music that motivates me to walk faster.

I walk daily. I use the treadmill in the morning, and walk everywhere I go to during the day: I take the children to school, shop for food at the nearby store, go to work, and run any errand that comes up without getting into a car.

Do you walk? What keeps you motivated to walk? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012


Treadmill Talk

The shrill sound of the alarm clock breaks the silence of the dark. Time to get up….

I rise early every morning when the dawn has not yet broken. Groggily I sit up and reach for my exercise clothing, putting them on in the dark. My husband, barely registering my movement, turns on his side away from me and continues sleeping. I am tempted to climb back into the warm nest of blankets – but think on my resolution to be fit, healthy, and slimmer!

I brush my teeth and splash water on my face in an effort to wake up. It is time to hit the treadmill!! Lacing up my walking shoes, I think on what music I will listen to. It needs to be upbeat: to waken both the mind and the muscles; to get the the rhythm going. Today I think of choosing my current favourite: Jennifer Lopez’ album “Love?”, an album full of energy that will encourage me to walk the fastest I can!

Image via Wikipedia

Placing the earplugs into my ears, I begin walking slowly to warm up. My aim is to burn some of those nasty calories without causing injury, so I increase my speed slowly and steadily. Jennifer Lopez’ song pulses into my ears, encouraging me to keep up with the rhythm. Ten minutes have gone by – still another twenty to go. Fifteen minutes, and I need a breather… Time to slow it down a little.

I am tempted to stop but then I think of those calories again and the weight I need to get rid of!! I increase the speed. Five minutes to go…2 minutes … 1 minute. It is over. Thank goodness!

Walking the treadmill at times does seem a little boring but I know, if I keep up the exercise, I am sure to increase my fitness and lose my rounded stomach. While I am walking I sometimes allow my mind to wander a little, to think on the day that is to be. The exercise seems to put me into the right frame of mind for the day.

I step off the treadmill drenched with sweat and with a sense that I have achieved one of my goals for the day. My mind seems clear, and my spirit seems ready to face the day.

Is walking the treadmill one of the ways in which you exercise? What are your thoughts on using the treadmill to exercise?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012