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Dance, kick, skip your way into fitness with jazzercise

By Amy Pearson
March 12, 2014 at 11 p.m.

It's not your mother's exercise.

Jazzercise, the 45-year-old fitness craze, is alive and kicking in Longview.

But now, the program incorporates everything from dance moves to Pilates to kickboxing to Latin gyrations.

Leg warmers not required.

"It is the most fun way to exercise I can think of," said Longview Jazzercise franchise owner and instructor Wendy Cromie.

The class meets seven times a week at the Court House Athletic Club, but you don't have to be a member there to participate, Cromie said.

"Anyone can sign up," she said.

Judy Morgan of Longview had taken Jazzercise classes several years ago, but was going back to her first class in a long time Wednesday.

"I really liked it," she explained. "It's a combination of cardio with weights and abs and things at the end."

The 60-minute class features 40 minutes of aerobic movement and an additional 20 minutes of strength training using all the major muscle groups, Cromie said.

Cromie, who has been doing Jazzercise for 32 years and teaching for the past eight, says she "can't live without" the high-energy, motivating class.

"I love what it does for me and seeing what it does for other people," she said. "People love the way they look. They get an adrenaline rush. They gain confidence, and they have fun while they're doing it."

Jazzercise routines are choreographed at the corporate level (reportedly Jazzercise founder Judi Sheppard Missett still choreographs all the classes herself) and instructors teach a variety of routines, using different music mixes, each class.

"It's never boring," Cromie said. "It's constantly changing, and if you're looking for something to keep you active and fit, this is it."

One of the appeals of Jazzercise, which was introduced on the forefront of the "aerobic dance" craze, is that it's a good program for people of all ages and fitness levels.

"This is good even for an older person," Morgan said. "You go at your own level, but you still have fun and get a benefit from it."

The cardio portion of the class can involve anything from jumping to jogging to skipping, kicking, dancing or punching, Cromie explained.

During the last third, participants focus on strengthening all major muscle groups through through Pilates or yoga moves, or using tubes, medicine balls, weights or other exercise gear.

"You warm up, sustain a good heart rate, peak, then come back down again," Cromie said.

The current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control recommend that adults do at least two hours and 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a moderate level or one hour and 15 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity at a vigorous level. In addition, guidelines suggest adults should also do strengthening activities, like push-ups, sit-ups and lifting weights, at least two days a week.

"Jazzercise fits right into that," Cromie said.

The Jazzercise class is the only one currently offered in Longview, although Cromie said there are franchises in Mount Pleasant and Tyler.



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