fitness

Dancing to Lizzo, or physio isn’t all pain and suffering

Grey and White cat on a balance board

So while physio pretty much always begins with painful mobility work, it doesn’t always end that way. Sometimes it ends with dancing to Lizzo.

I was thinking about physio the other day and how I keep going back even though it’s pretty tough going. Lately we’ve been working on leg extension and getting my leg to lay straight. The physiotherapist straps my leg to her table and works on mobilizing the knee cap by pushing it down. At first it doesn’t hurt that much and then it really hurts and then we stop.

After that, it’s over to the gym area for feats of strength and balance. That’s the fun part of physio. We began with pulling a weighted sled backwards. That backwards motion requires full leg extension. After the we moved on to balancing on a bosu ball. You might know how this goes. You start out with both legs on the ball, and then one. Or you start with eyes open and then move to closed. Sometimes Estee the physiotherapist tries to gently push me off the ball.

Last time I was there the physiotherapist one station over was blasting Lizzo and I started bosu ball dancing. The next thing you know we were both dancing. It was fun and a good reminder that physio isn’t all suffering. It also makes sense that Estee ends with the fun stuff.

Here’s a Lizzo workout playlist

Lizzo playlist from Pop Sugar
fitness · traveling

Guaranteed fun: Irish dance class in Galway

Image description: a group of women and men posing for a photo outside with water in behind them. Siobhan the dance teacher is in the middle front. The others are my photography tour group and I (the subset who did the Irish dance class).

I just got back from a long-awaited photography tour of Ireland for a couple of weeks and there were so many memorable moments with new friends and beautiful places.

But one stand-out experience that delivered an unexpected blast of sheer joy for all concerned was an Irish dance class in Galway, taught by Siobhan, who used to tour in the US with Riverdance. Her company is called Irish Dance Experience and one member of our small tour group booked it in advance. I signed up on a lark, not having met any of my tour group in person yet and not having a particular interest in Irish dance and not being an especially skilled dancer (though I enjoy dancing nonetheless).

By the time we got to Galway we had been on the photography tour for more than a week, so everyone knew and was comfortable with everyone else. That made a difference because despite Siobhan being an incredibly good teacher and despite us becoming better in just over an hour than we ever thought possible, we were all really going out on a ridiculous limb! We looked hilarious. But we rocked the dance with brooms and did a badass Riverdance finale. (you’ll have to take my word for it)

Anyway, we had an absolute blast and here is Siobhan’s Instagram post about our group:

That’s me in the blue t-shirt swinging with Joey from Texas. The entire group was smiling and laughing almost the whole time. The only other facial expression was perhaps intense concentration (Irish dancing requires counting and coordination). Siobhan said we did great.

There is more video, and watching it makes me laugh every time. But we made a pact that it would never be distributed for public consumption. I’m keeping up my end of the pact.

If you’re ever in Galway I recommend her class. So much fun.

P.s. Galway restaurant recommendation for anyone who appreciates the combination of Michelin stars and lack of pretension. Incredible food including outstanding vegan options. Ard Bia at Nimos: http://www.ardbia.com/

covid19 · Dancing · fitness

(Remote) Dark Dancing (Guest Post)

By Elan Paulson

“Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there, baby, I could use just a little help.”

“Dancing in the Dark,” Bruce Springsteen

After months of being house-bound due to the COVID19 pandemic, folks may be searching for new ways to break up the monotony of their indoor exercise routines. Dark dancing has been there all along, just waiting to be discovered.

Chorophobia is the fear of dancing, which stems from feeling judged as other watch us move our bodies, and it is apparently more common than people think. In the video documentary, Fear of Dancing (2020), director Michael Allcock talks about how chorophobia is something we grow into as we get older.

The documentary features a Toronto-based group whose members “meet once a week to dance together in a darkly lit room.” During the pandemic, some of these dark dancers moved from in-person twilit sessions to dancing together in the dark…in their own homes.

On Monday nights, the Dark Dancing TO DJ sends a Zoom meeting or a Youtube stream link to the group. Requests may be taken in advance; a playlist is made. Then everybody logs on around the same time and just dances to the curated music–together yet apart–for a little over an hour.

cat in front of two computer screens that are lit up by a background display
Pets can see you dark dancing. They don’t count.

I’ve been twice now. One week they used Zoom, and I turned on my camera but draped fabric over the camera for privacy. The next week, with the Youtube stream, there was no “room” to log into. Both times I did turn dance in the mostly dark…for authenticity.

For exercise, I find it fun. I can’t fail to score points like I do with Just Dance, and I won’t forget the choreography like I do in a live or recorded dance class. I get to wear comfortable clothes and have the whole floor to myself (except maybe other than my cat, Theo). And I hear music that I would never find on my own.

shadow of a woman on a door
Dancing with myself…

Both me and another dark dancer agreed that we prefer dark dancing in Zoom to the Youtube stream. You can’t see anyone either way, but there’s something about being with other people dark dancing, even if it’s only in a virtual room.

In addition to Dark Dancing TO, there are other social media groups and streaming sites that provide music and live DJs from around the world for listening and dancing. If you have chorophobia, or are just looking something different, this may be it!

Have you tried dark dancing? What do you think?

fitness

Flossing on Google Fit and on the boat

Last year when I was counting steps for the team challenge, I talked about dancing as a way to get some steps in at the end of the day. I stand behind dancing as a way to get in some movement. It comes naturally when I hear music with a beat.

Well, I’m not alone in recognizing dancing as a legitimate way to get active. In fact, Google Fit even includes “flossing,” the dance that all the kids are loving ever since the backpack kid rocked it behind Katy Perry on Saturday Night Live.

Well, not too long ago, my friend Amanda taught me how to floss. I can’t do it at the same speed as the backpack kid, but I’ve been practicing. Last week when I was on vacation on the sail boat, I got out running a few times but I also danced. Here’s my floss video for your entertainment. That’s my partner, Ren, coaching me in the background:

View this post on Instagram

Do the floss. #floss #sailinglife #sailingguinevere

A post shared by Tracy Isaacs (@tracyisaacs1) on

So yeah. There you have it. I can floss (-ish).

Can you?