Moving Outside: Swapping Zumba for the disc golf course. 

Walking around the disc golf course gets me to my step goal rather quickly.

Walking around the disc golf course gets me to my step goal rather quickly.

I was standing at the top of the stairs, excited that after two weeks of physical therapy for my knee, I was finally walking without pain. It wouldn’t last long. My new kitten was sitting on the stairs, his first day out of the safe zone we created when we brought him home from the shelter five days earlier. I tried to step around him, but stepped on a worn spot on the stairs and slipped down the whole flight. The pain following that fall would continue for months. And just like that, my Zumba days were over.

Zumba was my catalyst for losing weight. I was eating right (about 1600 calories a day, down from my shocking 3000, and walking and riding my bike for exercise, but I just didn’t feel like I was getting the workout I wanted. I purchased a Zumba video game for my Xbox 360 and quickly accelerated my weight loss. But more importantly – I was having fun! If I had a stressful day, there was nothing a little Zumba couldn’t fix. Even just 20 minutes of awkwardly following along with the cues helped. You can’t be angry when you’re dancing!

However, my back pain persisted for months and my attempts at Zumba only made it worse. I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days after a session. I felt pain in my back and hips. I lived with the pain until finally I went to see my doctor and again – wound up back in physical therapy. My doctor and the therapist agreed – no more Zumba. I was devastated. They suggested Pilates or yoga. I couldn’t see myself going from an intense cardio session to merely stretching. It didn’t excite or challenge me like Zumba did. I wanted to have fun and enjoy my workout.

Enter: Disc Golf. I thought this was going to a stupid, backwoods kind of sport. I wasn’t all too interested when my friend suggested it, but I think I found my new exercise. I do a lot of walking around the course and all I need to do is throw a disc (or frisbee, for those who may be unfamiliar), walk to it, and throw it again until I reach/get it in the basket. There is no rush (unless the people you’re playing with are rushing you).

Action shot of me and my favorite disc. My face means business!

I’ve always been fond of solo sports/exercise. With disc golf, there really is no competition, you’re competing against yourself, your previous score. I don’t feel left out of the team or that I’m falling behind. I’m going at my own pace — literally. With a more intense, hilly course, my heart rate jumps and I can feel the burn. My muscles ache, but I feel stronger and am building strength and skills with every course I play. I do tend to feel a little sore in my knees, but my back has improved and I’m able to go more days without physical therapy.

Although I’m still just a beginner, I’m getting the hang of using my driver and putter and have invested in a fun cooler backpack to hold my discs, water, and snacks. I’ve played nine courses so far, seven of those here in the Southland, one in Phoenix, and one in Kanab, UT. Even though I started from the beginner pad on Hole 11, I still lost my disc in the lake. Fortunately for me, the people in Kanab are nice and someone emailed me that they had found my disc. A month after it was lost, we were reunited.

Curse you, Hole 11! I’m going to skip this hole for now until the water level drops.

The only drawback to this sport is that I need to travel to a course, rather than stay in my living room like I did with Zumba. And there’s no disc golf video game to supplement the real thing — I’ve looked. So for now my disc golfing days will be reserved for weekends or vacation, and maybe a weekday day or two while the daylight is still lasting well into the evening.

Cost: About $60 (Backpack and Discs)

Drink of Choice: Limon Pepino Gatorade





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