Fitness is part of my daily routine. And for me, it’s mostly cardio. Here’s the deal—I love food of all kinds, I have what you call a “healthy appetite,” and my metabolism leans towards snail’s pace. So daily fitness is a must. In an effort to keep it interesting and fun, I’ve sought out exercises that take me away—that take me to the beach, to beauty, to nature, to culture. Here are my top 3 exercises that put me in vacation mode:
Yeah, running is hard. It can be really tough, especially on a hot Texas day. I hit the pavement early in the morning for a more enjoyable experience. My favorite place to run is at the lake at an easy, no-pressure pace and my favorite reggae tunes playing from my dated ipod. The water, lakeside breeze, the music, and the people enjoying the lake around me put me in another place. I don’t feel like I’m in the middle of Dallas, Texas. I put myself in Cartagena. In Colombia, taking a jog along the malecon that faces the Old City. And I remember the ocean, the windiness, Colombians jogging along, the grittiness and the beauty all in one.
I love zumba so much. I won’t say that I’m very good, but I’m pretty well versed in the moves by now. My favorite zumba class is on Saturday mornings at the Ballet Folkorico building. The class is led by Luz, the sassiest, most-serious zumbaist I know. We dance salsa, merengue, some samba and reggaeton. It’s an hour full of turns, steps, shimmies and sweat. And in that hour, I’m taken to Isla Holbox, Mexico. It reminds me of the zumba class in Holbox—7 pm, 20 women, a packed meeting hall connected to the local church, and salsa blaring from floor-standing speakers. At the Ballet Folkorico studio, I feel like I’m there. It’s a small, basic, unapologetic place with lots of love, community and fun within its four walls.
Let me just start by saying that I’m not a hard-core yogi. I’m into the easy, restorative-type yoga experience. And I love, love going to the yoga class led by Joyce at the gym at my work. The musical sounds of waves crashing, Joyce’s calming voice and her simple instructions—sun salutations, warrior I, warrior II, savasana. I close my eyes and, though Joyce tells me to be present, I’m on a dock, in the Bahamas. And I’m facing the ocean, feeling the salty air and warm sun. I’m outside, standing, arms up, back arched, “thank you, sun.” It makes me feel full again. It restores my heart. And that’s why I try to go every week.
Travel has always been a big motivator for me, and it makes running, yoga and zumba activities that I look forward to each day.