I've had a membership on and off at my local YMCA for a few years now. This being the summer after freshman year (uggh), I'm trying to exercise more than usual. And I've tried a bunch of different classes and forms of individual exercise, including the "cool" ones like yoga, Pilates, et cetera. But you know what I like best of all? Aerobics.
First of all, there's the instructor. Her grin and enthusiastic bellow, and the sight of a woman who is at least in her forties dancing around so energetically and unreservedly and with so much enjoyment, never fail to perk me up, even at eight o'clock in the morning. Also, from time to time she yells that as long as we are moving, we're doing it right, which is a line I can't help but like.
The steps are fast and simple but with a goodly amount of variety, and impact-wise you can amp it up as much as you want, which I like because I love anything with a lot of jumping (hence I do Irish dance). It's an hour of bouncing, twisting, punching, and side-stepping around, and it's fabulous! I always feel like going full out, and sometimes I can't NOT grin.
A fast, fun soundtrack is provided, including reunion time with such classics as "The Twist," "We Got The Beat," and "Whoomp! (There It Is)" as well as weird, only-for-aerobics-instructors songs like a techno remix of Eponine's "On My Own" from Les Miserables.
I get to witness the miraculous spectacle of a gym full of women two or three times my age grooving uninhibitedly to said soundtrack, answering every "HOW ARE WE DOING?" from the instructor with a chorus of hearty cheers right on cue. Aside from how reassuring it is to see that, yes, women can have real fun even after they reach forty, thanks to them there is no trace of the stereotypical gym culture (that is, I never worry about wearing something cool, how I measure up to the person next to me, and so on). One older lady even told me today that my energy inspired her, which kind of made my morning. Teehee.
And of course, it's really good exercise. It gets your heart rate up for a solid hour, makes you sweat, and works your muscles a bit too, but at the end you still feel like you have more energy than you did when you began. Genius stuff, I tell you. We don't give the 1980's enough credit.