Maybe it’s the change in altitude, maybe it’s my two very stubborn but lovely flatmates, maybe it’s just that I really want to get active and healthy, or maybe it’s a combination of all three but at one point in early October, I decided to join the university’s gym.
And no you AUBities, going to the gym at Maastricht University is not a right, nor is it included within the already too-high tuition.
So coming from a person who would rather be sitting in front of her computer all day long writing and rocking out to her favorite music, doing no sort of physical activity, joining a gym is one of those life-altering steps.
But I promised myself that one of the things I would accomplish while living in the Netherlands is adopting a healthy lifestyle, with some form of exercise implemented daily.
By exercise, I can safely assume walking is one of them, right?
Because I’ve been doing a lot of that.
I decided to take up Zumba, because the girls had said it was loads of fun and the music was all Latin, so it wouldn’t be as much exercise as it would be dancing.
But I’ll get to that later.
First, allow me to describe the gym by telling you what it’s not.
It’s not Charles Hostler Student Center- where I worked out only when I had a special occasion and needed to fit into a dress. Yes, that’s how exercise perverse I am. So yeah, it’s not a state of the art facility that’s so shiny, environmentally friendly, organized, and somehow smells like an actual gym.
The gym at UM is a warehouse, because apparently it’s just temporary until they get the funds to establish a proper facility. Judging by my experience with temporary things, ahem, the Beirut slaughterhouse, this structure is going to stay for more than the administration intended.
So while it’s not state-of-the-art, it’s still okay and the hall where the majority of the classes are conducted, including Zumba, is pretty big, giving you enough space not to bump into the person whose standing right next to you.
You’d think though that being Lebanese, the ability to move my hips and follow steps in tune to the music would come naturally to me. Well, obviously, some genetic permutation happened somewhere down the road because I cannot do that. I am such a horrible dancer, by my own admission, that I now understand why I’m in general dancing alone at parties or why I never signed up for those Latin dance classes even though I really wanted to.
It doesn’t help either that the instructor is some sort of Zumba Goddess who probably designs all the routines in her sleep because she’s that good (and strikingly beautiful if I may add).
So naturally, I can’t follow along but I can safely report that no one has been injured in the several weeks I’ve been going to that class.
But let’s be honest here for a bit.
I’ve never felt better about myself. That one hour of jumping around and pretending like I know the steps has become something I look forward to, even braving the steadily freezing weather to go to the gym. The fact that for the very first time in my life I feel fit and healthy is not one that I tend to overlook so easily.
Yes, I laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of my execution of the moves but then again, no one is perfect, no one can get everything out of the genetic pool.
As long as you’re having fun and doing something that makes you happy, I say, why not?