Monday, May 21, 2018

The Search for the Perfect Exercise: Coming Home to Ballet by Milou Koenings

I've been on a search for the perfect exercise routine since high school.

No, don't misunderstand me. I am not an exercise freak.

unsplash-logoDonald Giannatti
I hate exercise.

I hate that heart-pounding, I'm-gonna-die any second feeling I get when jogging or doing aerobics or jumping rope.

On the other hand, I do like the idea of staying healthy enough to be able to enjoy doing things with my family long into my old age. And I wouldn't mind getting as toned and fit as the heroines in my books. (One can always dream...)

I mean, who wouldn't want to be horse riding the day after her 92nd birthday like Queen Elizabeth II, right?

Riding, I could handle. Just not in my neighborhood or in my budget.

Walking the dog — awesome! Just my speed... strolling around the neighborhood at twilight, meeting all the other dogs and their owners. Very pleasant. But not much of a workout.

Joining a gym has worked for me in the past, only because if I pay for it, I will make myself use it. Hey, whatever works, right? It's the only way I got through law school in decent shape, because the monthly gym bill was the only thing that could justify my leaving the library for an hour without feeling too guilty. And if the gym was torture, well, so was the law library, so what was the difference? But these days, it would take me more than an hour to get to a gym, one way. And I'm not as willing to submit to torture as in my younger days. So no.

Exercise bike? Soooo boring. How long can a person pedal going nowhere?

DVDs are the perfect solution then, except that they don't do wonders for my blood pressure. Perfectly toned instructors with bopping ponytails or bulging tattooed biceps cheering me on, yelling, "Come on, you can do it!" just make me want to throw something at them.

I've tried yoga books. No one screaming at me. Check. Pictures. Check. All right, not always so easy to figure out, but okay. The real downside? It's a book! It's made to curl up on the couch with while I study the poses so I'll have them memorized... one day.

But now, I might possibly be in love.

After giving up on yoga, I tried to remember the last time I actually enjoyed an exercise class. And I had to go all the way back to my high school years, when I was a dancer. Ballet and Jazz. Our high school had a daily gym requirement, but it could be met by dance. So I'd start my days with an hour of ballet, which I'd been taking since elementary school. It was lovely. Calm. Soothing music. Repetitious, yes, but in a good way, so one could totally zone out. In fact, it suddenly struck me that even the night before the bar exam, when I was much too nervous to sleep, it was ballet that calmed me down. I remember getting out of bed at two in the morning and doing a whole routine in my living room. Then I slept.

I don't know why I didn’t think of it before, but so far, ballet feels a little like coming home.

I'm loving every moment of the soothing piano music and the calming effect of first position, second position, flex, point, flex, point...

Will the honeymoon last? Well, that remains to be seen. I'll let you know.!

Milou Koenings is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance because, like chocolate, stories with a happy ending bring more joy into the world and so make it a better place.

Her Green Pines sweet romances, I Love You Three, The Kampala Peppermint Twist, Reclaiming Home, and Sweet Blizzard are available on, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and all your favorite e-book retailers.

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  1. I was a ballet dancer as a child and teenager. Loved it. I'm with you on exercise!

  2. Love your post, Milou. Yes, exercise is so exhausting! But dance, now that's a great idea! My daughter majored in dance in college and is in great shape.

  3. I took ballet when I was a little girl, but I never pursued it beyond that. I like to play tennis for exercise.

  4. I'm so glad you were able to find an exercise you enjoy, Milou!

  5. Exercise is so important. Keep dancing!