Hi Everyone. My name is Marilyn and I go to Sveta’s “Zumba Gold in Chairs” class on Monday afternoons at Heatherside Community Centre.For those of you who don’t know, Zumba in Chairs is for people who, for one reason or another aren’t as mobile as they would like to be, or can’t exercise on their feet for any length of time (that’s me, more about that later).I have always exercised, everything from aerobics to yoga, with step, spinning, Pilates and combat on the way. Two years ago I developed ulcers following an injury which wouldn’t heal, which lead to a nasty infection known as sepsis. Whilst in hospital I got MRSA to add to all my problems and by the time I got home I could just about stagger to the loo with the aid of a Zimmer frame! I felt exceedingly sorry for myself for about a year, then one day I thought I would go crazy if I had to watch another episode of Homes Under the Hammer. A flyer had been passed around at WI advertising “Zumba Gold in Chairs”, so I thought I would give it a go.At the first class I had to fill in a health questionnaire form and I told Sveta I couldn’t do anything which involved my legs because of the bandages and It was too painful anyway. She was very understanding and told me to just do what I could.
At the first class I was puffed out after the warm up – no exercise for nearly 2 years was catching up. Watching Sveta and trying to co-ordinate arms and legs was impossible. Gradually as the weeks went by, I forgot about the discomfort of the bandages and the pain of the ulcers, the music just carried me along and my legs followed on. My toes had been very painful, swollen, red and stiff, so bad, that I used to ask the nurse to put a bandage round them. It’s amazing how many things you stub your toes on when they are painful! I had been told by the physiotherapist to ‘walk normally and stop staggering around’, ie, bend your toes as you walk. If you don’t the lymph glands don’t work properly and your toes become swollen and painful. I couldn’t walk properly, nor could I bend my toes until…….Sveta introduced a new dance – the Salsa, where you have to dance on your toes. I thought I would just pretend, but I got carried away with the music and before I knew it I was dancing on my toes! I felt something ‘give’ – didn’t hurt, but something moved. By the time I got home my toes weren’t so swollen, red or painful and I was walking properly. It’s a miracle, I thought and couldn’t wait to tell Sveta and the class the next week.
I have been going for six months now and feel much fitter and happier. I don’t walk with a stick now and have been taking the dog for (short) walks, which I couldn’t do before discovering Zumba Gold in Chairs. It’s a fantastic workout even though we are sitting down. My arms are toned (no chicken wings here thank you!) and my core is strong, I’ve even lost weight. Yes, I still have painful ulcers, and sometimes can’t walk as well as I would like but Zumba has stopped me becoming a total invalid.
Does anyone else find the music compulsive? I find myself humming and doing an exercise (I’m doing it now as I write “double butter, double butter, dum, dum, diddle de dum). When I was on the train going up to London recently, I had to sit on my hands to stop myself launching into Bollywood, because the rhythm of the train reminded me of the tune. My husband told me to stop fidgeting and sit still. Well, he hasn’t done Zumba so he wouldn’t know what it’s like.I don’t like to think about what would have happened if I hadn’t discovered Zumba, not only the exercise but the other people in the class are fantastic and, of course, Sveta is an inspiration. The energy and enthusiasm from our class is just amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
You’ve seen the Specsavers Advert – well, that’s us! Like the people in the ad, we prefer exercise to bingo too.