By Terry L Turrell | Retirement before the age of 59
Retirement in México is bliss. The weather where we live is perfect all winter and spring, really most of the year. We throw the doors and windows open each morning and…get lazy. Jon settles onto the couch, reading a western novel and doesn’t move for hours. I sit down at my desk to write until I realize hours have gone by and my Fitbit is nagging me to get moving.
We walk a lot more in México than we did in the U.S. Every other day we walk at a good clip to town for dinner, and then we kind of stroll home after sharing a small garden salad and shrimp Alfredo, one order of flan, and each drinking two Margaritas. Our bathroom scale tells on us when we have been too lazy and eating too well the day before, reporting that our weight went up two pounds from that delicious dinner the previous night. I guess walking to and from dinner isn’t enough.
We realized pretty quickly after retiring that we had to make ourselves get more exercise or we would turn into blimps, living the good life here in México. So, we started attending yoga classes. We put two exercise classes per week on our calendar as a minimum and then shoot for attending a third. That has helped a lot! If it’s on our calendar, we make it happen. We enjoy yoga with Jim Gallas in the Don Pedro palapa, a beautiful setting overlooking the ocean. Walking a mile each way to the class, uphill both ways, of course, gives us an extra workout. For variation, we have attended yoga classes at Hotelito Los Sueños and at Heart Shala Yoga Studio, both a pleasure. We find that yoga classes help us stay physically stronger and more flexible, as well as improving our mental health.
But what about aerobic exercise? Those of you who know me or have read my previous books and blogs know how hooked I am on Zumba® Fitness classes, a great cardio workout that is based on dance, making it so much fun you forget you’re exercising. (Sounds a bit like an ad, but it’s true!) Sometimes we couldn’t find a Zumba class in Sayulita, so Jon suggested I take the training to become a Zumba instructor. At first, I didn’t think I could do it, but he continued to encourage me, so I enrolled in my first Zumba training class over a year ago. I’m so glad I did. Now I teach Zumba classes two days per week, which Jon faithfully attends with me. When I’m the instructor, there’s no skipping classes. Plus, I have to give it more energy when I know my students are following my example. That has really helped Jon and me stay fit. I have included a short clip of a video from one of my Zumba classes.
Then one day, the Sayulita ejido threw a monkey wrench into our Zumba class schedule. The ejido (community) owned the Casa de la Cultura (House of Culture) where I held my Zumba classes and we paid a small fee to use the space. Without warning, a representative came in at the end of my Wednesday class and informed us that the building had been sold and we could no longer hold classes there.
I wasn’t going to let this glitch put a stop to our fun Zumba classes! I was in a panic for a few days, trying to find a space large enough for eight to twelve of us to dance, with a floor that was either wood or tile, and available around 9:00 in the morning when my students like to have class. Jon and I walked all over Sayulita for several days looking at yoga studios, the Amigo de Corazon Senior Citizen Club, the elementary school, a church, and several hotels. Whew, did we rack up the miles on our Fitbits! I had one of my best Fitbit reports ever. I lost those two pesky pounds, too.
Finally, after researching seven possible sites, we held a trial class at two of the yoga studios and put in a request for permission to have our classes at the Amigo de Corazon Senior Citizen Club. I decided to put my Zumba class on hold until the right room became available. Jon and I began having our own private Zumba class on our patio, just the two of us. We decided whether it was a week or a month before the right space and time slot became available, we would wait to start offering Zumba classes again (hopefully soon). For the time being, we are still getting our aerobic exercise with Zumba twice a week, just at home.
Jon got some unplanned bicycling exercise one week recently. Another flat tire on our golf cart (we nicknamed Carlos), this one from a nail we picked up, required a trip with the tire to the llantería (tire repair shop). I suggested he call a taxi to take him the four miles round trip, but he decided he could strap the tire on the back of his bike, ride to the tire repair shop, wait to have it fixed, and then ride home with it.
Whenever Carlos is out of commission, we end up riding our bicycles on bumpy cobblestone roads to town to buy groceries and take laundry to the lavandería, a somewhat treacherous means of getting exercise. We were both happy Jon was able to get Carlos going again in one afternoon. The cost was 100 pesos ($5 US). We not only get extra exercise living in México, we save money on repairs.
One of the reasons we chose to live in Sayulita is the abundance of exercise opportunities. Living in a beach town, we enjoy boogie-boarding and Stand Up Paddle boarding in the warm weather and temperate ocean water year around. Golf is something we like occasionally, but we aren’t willing to pay the high prices most golf courses charge, so we find the public 9-hole Field of Dreams (Campo de Ensueños) Golf Club in El Monteón to be a lot of fun and inexpensive.
All of this physical fitness makes us thirsty at the end of the day. Just writing about all of this exercise makes me realize it’s time for a margarita or a glass of wine. Which one of the 120 restaurants in Sayulita shall we walk to tonight? Maybe one on the beach with a view of the sunset. So many decisions, so much to do… glad we retired while we are young enough to enjoy all of them.
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