What burns more calories? Zumba or kids’ ‘aerobics’?

Have you ever been waiting in line at the grocery store, bored out of your wits, and noticed a 5-year-old dancing around like a maniac?

That would be my child. She burns five times more calories than I do just “standing” around.

Then there’s “watching” television. Every time my kids watch cartoons it looks like a tornado hit the family room.

For some reason, it never occurs to me to do headstands while watching Netflix, or play tag in the middle of Fred Meyer. That’s probably why my ability to burn calories is so different from my children. Enter yoga, neighborhood walks and the Total Gym. Mom has to work hard to keep up.

After I broke my wrist in an ice-skating fall last March, I faced new exercising challenges. After just a few weeks, my arms became two different sizes. It was fun to freak people out by showing them my forearms, but scary to witness atrophy in action.

My insurance provides thirty sessions of physical therapy — not exactly for free — and I’m on track for using most of them. My wrist is at the point where I can wave goodbye, open a doorknob and hold a coffee cup. But I still can’t touch my left hand to my left shoulder and I have weird nerve issues. Things that used to be easy, like doing the downward-facing dog pose in yoga, are now faraway goals.

I also have to fight my own paranoia because I’m afraid of falling and breaking something else. I yell at my kids for leaving toys on the ground that could trip me. I always hold onto the bannister now when I walk up and down stairs.

Recovering from a broken wrist has been humbling. It’s hard to be active again, especially after sitting on my butt for three months.

One of my friends has been doing the Couch to 5k Running Plan and posting her progress on Facebook. The goal of c25k is to take anyone from the sofa to running for a solid 30 minutes in just 9 weeks. It’s totally free.

My friend’s progress has really inspired me, but running isn’t my thing. So I decided to give myself a different challenge. I ordered a set of Zumba DVDs.

Zumba is like aerobics with Latin music. There’s Salsa, Flamenco, Reggaeton and even Tango. The DVDs start out easy and then get difficult. For some reason all of the instructors are really into torn shirts and shaking their hair around — but Zumba is super fun.

Correction, it’s fun if your kids aren’t watching you and laughing. My children think my Zumba efforts are hilarious.

I’m glad they find me so amusing, but I’m also plotting my revenge. The next time my daughter starts dancing in Fred Meyer, I’ll be ready to join in.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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