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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Zumba for 2017

There is a lot I should update you all on, but I want to keep this posting focused, so I'll have to do a fuller update later. Sorry for the delay on getting these out.

As I originally posted back in June of 2015,  I started doing Zumba classes around the beginning of March 2015. So I'm approaching year two with this exercise program. I really enjoy doing it. Many of the classes one goes to, you do it because you know you need to, but often you don't look forward to doing it. Yes, some do, I know, look forward to Body Pump. I like the benefits it is giving me, which is why I continue to do it, but I don't exactly look forward to stressing my muscles out.

But I do look forward to doing Zumba. I guess that's why I go to every class available at the gym. I re-watched the video on that original post, and realized how far I've come. I obviously had a good case of dyskinesia while I did that dance along with a tremoring/stiff left hand. My movements were small and not very defined. I think if we were to do another video of me doing that same dance, you'd notice an improvement as well . . . as long as my meds were working as they should. Sometimes, inexplicably, they just aren't as effective as they normally are.

Of course, some of the dances we do are more athletically demanding than others. A good example is one of my favorite dances to do, Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy. The linked video is the same choreography we do, aside from a couple of small differences, including all squats and lunges. I personally like the more active ones, but you've got to have the others to keep people from falling over with fatigue. Zumba tries to have a more varied interval workout.

The downside of the more challenging dances, especially for people with Parkinson's who may be more advanced in their disease progression, or others who simply don't think they can do that kind of stuff because of difficulty in moving, or they have balance issues, is it discourages them from trying. Reality is one can do what they can, adopt modifications for their ability, on any of the dances. We have some in our classes who don't twirl because they'd lose their balance, or will do modifications for moves they can't do, like in the above video, instead of doing the double-lunge and bouncing into the air while switching feet forward and backward, and landing into another double-lunge, and continue that for however long it lasts; they will instead just step forward and back. We even have one man recovering from a stoke in our class who can barely move his feet much, out there doing what he can.

But, many become intimidated by such dances and decide they can't do Zumba because they don't ever think they could do what everyone else is doing. But there is a Zumba program, called Zumba Gold, which are a modified version of Zumba specifically for senor adults and those afflicted with restricted movement or difficulty in movement. Zumba Gold even has a Zumba Chair version for those with balance issues or are confined to a wheel chair. Problem is, at our gym, there is no one certified to teach Zumba Gold. As a matter of fact, I did an Internet search and discovered there is only one person certified to lead that class in the Texas Highland Lakes area. She's associated with another gym and is currently not holding any classes for Zumba Gold that I could find.

I thought it would be great if our gym could offer that program because I know there are those there who might take advantage of it who don't think they can do the regular Zumba class. As a matter of fact, I talked with a fellow gym goer with Parkinson's today who thought it would be great if they had such a class, because she did feel intimidated by the regular Zumba class.

So, what to do? I began toying with the idea of becoming a Zumba Gold instructor. I checked out what it would require, I think I even briefly discussed it with my wife. That was back in September (2016). However, I didn't mention it to anyone else. In part because I wasn't sure if I should or not. Could I, who can be off on my meds at times and have trouble moving correctly, lead a Zumba class? I could see myself bring it up to someone and them saying, "But Rick, you've got Parkinson's, you can't lead a class. Everyone will think the shaking is part of the choreography and try to follow you." Also, I know our gym requires two certified instructors available before they'll think about putting a class on the schedule. Even then, there is no guarantee they'll put it on the schedule. So I decided to give it some more time before revisiting the idea, maybe next year once the potential Deep Brain Stimulation surgery had been done.

Then, a few weeks ago, one of our Zumba instructors approached me as to whether I'd be interested in becoming Zumba Gold certified. Maybe my wife had mentioned my interest to her. If so, no one's confessed that she did. The instructor, however, is herself interested in becoming certified in Zumba Gold, knew they'd need another instructor to put it on the schedule, and thought of me. I was a little surprised to be directly asked about it, since I had secretly been considering the idea. It helps to have someone who is doing it, believe you can also do it, as she is fully aware of my limitations. So getting certified was back on the table.

Only roadblocks now revolved around the cost of getting certified. One, the class itself cost at least $300 if you register early enough. Two, all the current classes for that certification were in cities far away from Central Texas. So travel, hotel, and if I flew, car rental, would be a hefty sum of money for someone like me who is barely paying bills and medications, etc.

The cheapest option was the class in Orlando, FL. In large part because my wife's parents live there, so we could avoid hotel cost, which is a big one. After calculating the cost for two round-trip airline tickets and car rental while there, vs. driving my truck there, it came out substantially less expensive to drive. So I estimated my cost to become certified would be $300 for the class, plus an estimated $250 for gas, and throw in another $100 for food (food will probably be more, depending on certain factors, but some of that would be cost of food we'd eaten if staying at home that would be freed up).

That put the needed money to get certified around $650.00. The class in Orlando is on January 14. I knew it would be near impossible for me to come up with the extra money to pull this off, but hoped there would be enough support among friends and family to make it happen. So I set up a "Square store" to take donations for this cause.

As of 12/28/2016, $160.00 has been donated. (Thank you so much!) A little over half of what I need to pay the cost of registration. Due to some promised donations, which so far have not materialized so I'm stepping out on faith here, and the desire to get the reduced price of $300 for the class (it was going up to $320 on Saturday), I floated $200, since by then I'd already collected $100, and registered for the class.

So yes, by hook or crook, I'm committed to going on January 14 to be certified. The question now is will I at least collect another $140.00 to cover the cost of the registration, and will I get the rest before embarking on the journey to Orlando? Time will tell, but all I can do is get the word out and pray God will provide. I know many are in our situation and are unable to give despite wanting to. Thank you for your morale and prayer support. But if you are able and willing to help me, I encourage you to visit my store and donate whatever you wish. Thank you in advance.

Once I've reached my goal total, I'll take the donation item out of the store. I'll use the comment section of this blog to update everyone on the status of reaching my goal, so if you'd like to receive notice of that, subscribe to this post's comments using the link in the upper right corner.

Hard to believe this is happening, but it is. I'm excited, and look forward to what 2017 has in store for my desire to help others through Zumba Gold. Thank you.


  1. Received another $50 donation a little while ago. Remaining amount needed to cover registration is now $90.00. Then I hope we can chip away at the gas and food expense budget: $350.00.

    Thank you all for making this happen!

  2. Good news! As of today, I've received $300.00, which covers the cost of registering for the certification class. Thank you all who donated, and those supporting in other ways.

    We'll be departing next Wednesday evening and should arrive in Orlando on Thursday afternoon. We have another $350 to go to reach our goal, to cover gas and food on the trip. I'd hope to get at least another $100 before we leave, for food. The gas we can put on a gas card and collect the rest to pay that bill in another month.

    I think we'll get the rest, and am very grateful for the help to make this a reality.

  3. Update: I've received an additional number of donations since last post. $75.00 from my online store, and $70.00 personal donations for a total of $145.00 more dollars. This covers our food budget and covers $45 of our gas budget. That means we've collected a total of $445.00, leaving $205.00 left to meet my fundraising goal.

    Thank you all who have donated to make this possible. We'll be leaving for Orlando next Wednesday late afternoon or early evening, and we'll document the trip and my progress at the classes. Zumba!

  4. Received another $10.00 (thank you!) so still have $195.00 to reach the goal!