Something happened to me over the last year or so. I fell in love….with Barre. This is an amazing exercise. One by one, you work just about every muscle in your body repetitively and then stretch each one with the ultimate outcome of a long lean and toned look. All complete with wonderful music and a ballet barre.
Most of my life I have dabbled with some sort of exercise such as running, skiing, yoga, tennis or just plain having fun with some activity. Although too often the job, work travel or some TV series got in the way. You get the picture and probably have a similar story. Then I tried Barre.
As a kid, I was one of those young girls who took ballet. So when I heard about Barre, I thought I’d give it a try. I was nervous. I really struggled through those first few Barre classes. I had to do my push-ups against the wall along with the woman who was 8 months pregnant - not on the floor like the rest of the class. I had to brace myself with a ball to do any Ab work. I could not even lift my leg on to the barre to stretch or gracefully “float” it to the floor as the instructor suggested. But there was something different about Barre. My first and current instructor, Jessica is about the nicest and most encouraging mentor. She is a beautiful mother of two young children and a stroke survivor. She cares about each of our progress and always has modifications so we can succeed. No matter where I have taken a class, guaranteed someone will laugh or moan at certain exercises. We have fun and it feels so good, even when I am sore the next day.
Early on I innocently asked, “So, how often does one have to do Barre to really get good at it?” Every instructor had the same response, “Three or four times a week.” Each time, I replied, “Your kidding, right?”
Because I had taken the first few steps and could now get my leg up on the barre, I decided to commit. I bought a monthly pass and started scheduling my day around when I could get to a Barre class. I was determined to get stronger and more flexible. This was my chance.
Then people started asking, “What exactly are you doing?” I felt great and I guess it showed. I began trying to convince friends ages 22 to 75 to try Barre. My biggest surprise was when my 68-year young sister-in-law announced at a family gathering she too was doing it, “Just for a month for the introductory deal until I go to Aruba”. (HA!). That was almost a year ago and she too now schedules her day around when she can get to Barre – but do not tell anyone. That is a sign that one is addicted to Barre. As a side note the 22 year old said it was the hardest exercise she had ever done and has not been back. That just made me want to be stronger. Don’t worry many of my other friends are still doing it – on both coasts.
Today, I push myself in the exercises and look forward to the next morning to do it all again. I am usually the oldest in the room. Most of the others, including the instructor, are young enough to be my daughters but I don’t care. And neither do they. Barre has helped my posture, strengthened my core, aligned my balance, made me flexible and even created some definition in my arms. These are all areas that as we age, are critical to work on. Beginning in our 30’s, the body loses strength, flexibility and balance – in that order. Think about it, no wonder you hear about so many broken hips with our great and grand relatives! Barre addresses each of these.
I love Barre. It helps in all facets of my well-being. Finally I have found an exercise that brings joy and even some grace into my life.