Exercising My Right to a Showtune
This time of year it is especially hard to get excited about exercise. It is brutally cold and going for a walk seems like torture. Many are reduced to schlep on a treadmill, while others are quite content to use the "Think System" where exercise is concerned. I tend to be more motivated to walk when showtunes are involved, so I often load up my iPod with peppy melodies from my favorite musicals and make my jaunt around the cubicles in my workplace: 45 minutes each morning and 45 minutes each lunch break.
Over time, I have found that a certain configuration of Broadway songs works best for me. Placed in the right order, I feel naturally inclined to increase momentum as I go, building toward a twenty-minute cardio workout, and then cooling down to that sensation of prickly flutters in my thighs. I thought that I would share with my readers my playlist for working off the fat. What is astounding is, when I actually do it, I feel great and lose about two pounds a week.
Pre-Walk Stretch: "The Carousel Waltz"
A good exercise plans always starts with a decent stretching period, loosening you up and preparing you for the hurdles to come. Richard Rodgers lovely "Carousel Waltz" from Carousel gives you ample time to slowly concentrate on each muscle. As the music swirls and the tempo increases, the song invigorates you and gets you in the right frame of mind for movement.
Getting Started: "It Needs Work" followed by "Will-a-Mania"
You have to slowly build toward a cardio workout and these two Cy Coleman ditties, in this order, give you a chance to incrementally increase momentum. "It Needs Work" from City of Angels insistently plods along, establishing a great starting gait. "Will-a-Mania" spiritedly elevates your speed (if you keep up with tempos, that is) and it's lively, bouncy rhythms help facilitate the right attitude.
Picking Up the Pace: "Ease on Down the Road" and "We Go Together"
The Wiz is all about people being transformed while retaining the important parts of who they are. Isn't that was exercise is about? That makes "Ease on Down the Road" the perfect song for picking up your pace. With a spring in your step, you are easing yourself toward the Emerald City of a new you. "We Go Together" from Grease is just fun and you'll spend the three minutes so caught up in the joy of reciting the nonsensical lyrics, that you will forget you are exercising. Sounds like a "win" to me.
Cardio Blast: "Four Jews in a Room Bitching," "Fast," "The Museum Song," "Favorite Son" and "I'm Calm"
You have to have at least twenty-minutes of cardio. High speed walking while swinging your arms (burning those extra calories) requires some high-paced songs to see you through. William Finn's frantic "Four Jews in a Room Bitching" from March of the Falsettos, followed by Tim Acito's hyperkinetic "Fast" from Zanna, Don't! fit the bill perfectly. Another Cy Coleman suite pops up with the crazed "Museum Song" from Barnum and then the spastic "Favorite Son" from The Will Rogers Follies will keep that blood a-pumping. I cap this off with Stephen Sondheim's "Calm" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, ending the treacherous portion of my workout with a half smile.
Slowing Things Down: "A Beat Behind"
By now, you are probably feeling a bit tired, and "A Beat Behind" from The Goodbye Girl is a humorous and effective way to transition back to reality. Give your heart a chance to slow down and muscles a chance to adjust to the impact of your workout. David Zippel's witty lyrics will make you laugh at your own exercise shortcomings while Marvin Hamlisch's jaunty melody guides the way to a cool down.
Cool Down: "Send in the Clowns"
Time to take long, slow breaths, stretch, and decide if you have survived. "Send in the Clowns" is the perfect, meditative song to end on (provided you have avoided a stroke). Stephen Sondheim's music slowly pulses and you will find yourself guided to breathe by its meter and tempo. A Little Night Music is about finding love at long last, and hopefully you will have found that relationship with my Broadway showtune workout playlist.
Load up your iPod and ease on down that road to better health, Broadway style!