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'80s Dancing Is the Only Tolerable Workout

The truth is you can tell a lot about a person by the kind of exercise she does. You can judge her physical endurance and personal discipline, her psychological resilience and tolerance for competition. But since I’ve never been mistaken for having any of those things, I’m going to tell you what kind of exercise I prefer. And you can judge for yourself what it says about me. I just want to dance like I’m in a 1980s music video. There, I said it. I want to headbang with The Cult, shimmy to the B-52s, and mug like Madonna. I want to slam to the Beasties, play air guitar with Van Halen, and slither like Tawny Kitaen on the hood of Whitesnake’s Jaguar. I want to sweat from spinning like a dervish to The Jesus and Mary Chain, and I want to be Ren McCormack in Footloose. God, I gotta cut loose. I know. It’s dorky. I’m sorry. I tried to be competitive. I wanted to be disciplined. But no amount of “controlled breathing” or “dynamic stretching” can mask the fact that most exercise is painful, and that pain hurts, and that hurting is painful. Also: ouch. The only time I’m panting and smiling (okay, the only other time) is when I’m busting out the Belinda, shuffling like MC Hammer, or moonwalking with Michael. Because moving to those musical memories transports me instantly, effortlessly to a brief moment when I had climbed free of childhood but hadn’t yet brushed up against the burden of adulthood. Or the agony of the chair pose. Back then I had unlimited energy and a fully functioning right shoulder. I had a boom box and MTV. And leg warmers. Really, a lot of leg warmers. I’m no Paula Abdul, but cue up some INXS, crank up The Cars, lemme hear some Love + Rockets or Jane’s Addiction — and I swear I can keep moving and grinning until all the CrossFitters have gone home to shower and consume mass quantities of meat. No pain … no pain. I can’t be the only forty-something female out there who doesn’t fit into the Lululemon oeuvre and would gladly pay for the opportunity to dance with other fitness fallouts to the music of our youth. We just want to feel for an hour like we’re the over-shoulder-padded vixens in a Duran Duran or A-ha video. Is that so wrong? I’m telling you, fitness entrepreneurs are missing out on a potentially huge market here. So I guess I have to launch it myself: Starshine’s Crazy ’80s Dancercise. Inspirational quote: “Pain is having to do lunges without leg warmers.”]]>

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