A new opportunity for maintaining fitness has opened up at Meridian Habitat Community Center, 14422 Meridian Ave. East in Puyallup.
South Hill Jazzercise, as part of the Pierce County Parks and Recreation program, is offering classes at the Habitat Center. Classes also are offered in Sumner and Graham.
At the South Hill location, Jazzercise instructor Ellen Hull said people should not feel intimidated about joining a class.
“You don’t have to be coordinated or feel like you are a dancer in order to do this,” Hull said. “You just have to enjoy moving to the music, and the feet will come in time.”
Men and women of all ages are welcome to participate. The first class is free.
Jazzercise has gained popularity, and Hull thinks the music may be a draw.
“This is different than a gym environment,” she said, adding that social connections are made as well. “Classes are smaller, and you get to know these people well.”
Jazzercise classes run about an hour and incorporate cardio, strength and stretch moves for a total-body workout.
Participants can expect to move to tunes that range from rock ’n’ roll to country. Classes incorporate Pilates, kickboxing and resistance training.
No special equipment is required. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing, aerobic or cross-training shoes and bring water to each class.
Hull stressed the importance of regular exercise. She said Jazzercise connects neurons, because your body goes one way and your feet go the other.
“It is important for coordination and balance,” she said.
Class participant Betty Vertrees has been participating in Jazzercise for the past 20 years, and said she likes it because it’s structured.
“I’m getting up in years, and this is important,” she said. “There is enough repetition, so you know what you are doing, but they keep it interesting.”
Instructor Kim Hawks led a recent group. She said she sees Jazzercise as a community coming to exercise and have a good time.
“I’ve been teaching for four years, and next to being a mom, this is the best job in the world,” said Hawks, who has lost more than 50 pounds since she started teaching.
Hawks maintains a dialogue with class participants as she instructs. She never seems to run out of breath as she shouts, “How many calories do you want to burn this morning?”
Class members welcome newcomers like old friends and help them get ready for their first class.
“Jazzercise has stood the test of time,” said Hull, who added that people don’t seem to get bored with the routine.
“We just mix it up,” she said. “It isn’t the leg warmers of the past. We’ve come a long way.”
For more information about Jazzercise classes, call Ellen Hull at 253-381-4941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.