Dancing after too little exercise

I went to my dance teachers’ monthly ball last night, and left utterly exhausted. It was my own fault.

I’ve been trying to keep exercising since leaving home, but as the pace of dancing has increased it’s become apparent that I need to work harder. Daily ~2 mile walks are ok at keeping me at a passable level, but I’ve found myself struggling in the longer dance routines. I can keep going for a fair while, but I seem to start sweating much earlier than anybody else. I didn’t realise until somebody made a comment a few months ago, and promptly started feeling terribly self-conscious. I’d be literally dripping after a couple of the faster jives, and felt embarrassed, bad for Lynsey, and more than a little gross. Lighter clothes helped a little, but not enough.

I figured that getting fitter might help, so picked up a cheapo cross-trainer from eBay. I squeezed it into my bedroom (there wasn’t much room in there before) and tried to do twenty minutes before breakfast. I managed this for a fair while, and it helped, but not in the way I’d expected. I didn’t actually sweat less, but instead of sitting out a dance and getting hotter and hotter for ages, I’d cool off and recover within a couple of minutes. It wasn’t ideal, but a trawl around the Internet suggests little else – some people are just susceptible, apparently – and I felt like I was doing as much as I could.

And then the cross-trainer broke. The rotation became lurchy and it started making grinding noises. I took it as an excuse to take a couple of days off (it’s not like I enjoy exercise at the best of times), and then NaNoWriMo started and, to be honest, I put it at the bottom of my priorities. I eventually got around to taking it apart and there seems to be a problem with the belt sticking to the wheel, but I can’t tell much without somebody actually riding the bike while I watch the mechanism. November has meanwhile been very busy in entirely non-energetic ways. When out for the day, I’ve returned and spent a couple of hours writing rather than walking, and dancing itself has been relatively easy, too. I didn’t realise how little exercise I’d had.

At one point last night we went through two consecutive Viennese Waltzes (first time I’ve done the VW in public – was fun!), two cha-chas and two normal waltzes. I enjoyed doing it, but was exhausted by the end, and didn’t cool down for ages. I had an excellent evening, but cringe when I think how I must have looked. I honestly don’t know what I’m like to dance with when like that – Lynsey, to her credit, has never said anything – but I feel dreadful about it. Today my chest aches, which I guess is a sign that I pushed myself pretty hard. I wouldn’t want to do any less than that, though.

Thankfully NaNoWriMo’s nearly over, but I really must fix the bike. There’s a Christmas ball in three weeks, and I’m determined to have improved by then. Especially as I’ve set myself the challenge of completing a four-minute Viennese Waltz without stopping…If anybody happens to have any tips, they’d be gratefully received.