Back in grade school and college, sports were always a distraction — but not from school work. I, like thousands of people, I'm sure, don't enjoy traditional exercise, but sports were a way to trick me into getting in shape. 

From 7th grade to sophomore year in college, I regularly played field hockey and soccer. I loved the team spirit and thrived on the competition between the opponent and me. But what I appreciated the most was that sports encouraged me to run like crazy with a goal (getting the ball) in mind, which inevitably whipped me into shape. 

Fast forward to today: I've tried to love running, stationary biking, and elliptical-ing, but the truth is, I miss contact sports and I hate it all. Plus, my weak ankles and Achilles problem don't help. But newsflash — I finally got off the couch this past week for the first time in months. (hooray)

The answer to my problems? Zumba.

I know. I've joined the bandwagon. After Brandy showed us how fun it was, I decided to give it a try and ordered the DVD set with the toning sticks. It ain't cheap, but it was less expensive than a gym membership. The best part? Zumba doesn't cause my ankle problems to flare up.

You might be thinking: Does this fad even work? Are the Latin dance steps hard to learn?

It's only been a week, but my aching muscles tell me that if you give it your all, Zumba is a good workout. My triceps, upper back, glutes, lower quads, and calves were burning the day after the first session. And that was just from learning the steps. Some of the routines are a little trickier to grasp, but they're not too tough to pick up after a few DVD sessions. And trust me, unless you count my brief stint in ballet (let's flash back to 5th and 6th grade...), I'm anything but a dancer. 

Zumba works the same way sports does for me — it keeps my mind off the fact that I'm exercising. If you've found yourself nodding along to this post, maybe it's worth it to give Zumba a try.

Readers, do any of you have the Zumba DVD set or go to live classes regularly? Or have you found any other ways to make exercise fun?