Why I Love Jazzercise

I have never understood the concept of paying a membership in order to exercise. I’ve always thought people need to abandon the noisy machines, the TVs and the general dissociation from nature that comes with a gym. People need to get outside more. Walk, bike, hike, climb, run, do something that brings you at least marginally into contact with nature. Ditch the stupid headphones and take time to quiet your mind, or (gasp!) even pray. Why spend the money when you can exercise outside?

(btw, we don’t have that many people in any of the classes I attend. I think we’d all run into each other. 🙂 )

I still think that’s all true, but I’ve been doing Jazzercise the last few months, and I really enjoy it, for a lot of reasons:

Variety. I think what I’ve always hated most about exercise is the mind-numbing repetition. Running, Nordic Track, sit-ups, you name it, it just goes on and on, the same thing over and over and over and over and…well, anyway. Jazzercise is choreographed to music, and the patterns change between verse and refrain–and the song changes every three or four minutes. So there’s never more than thirty or forty seconds of doing the same thing.

It’s dance. Because I was a band girl, I never got to be in a musical, and I’ve always wanted to. Once I learned the moves and my head stopped feeling like it was going to explode, I started having fun with the dance. It gives me a chance to imagine I’m on stage in a chorus line. (I hate playing, but anyone who aspires to write fiction has to enjoy imagining out scenes and scenarios.)

It works the whole body. Running is good for legs, Pilates for core, and so on. But in an hour of Jazzercise we do both aerobic and strength training, plus some targeted work within the core for toning.

Even though it’s an hour long, and it’s working the whole body, it doesn’t kill me. I’ve never been good at running, for instance, because it hurts too darned much. Since I’ve been doing Jazzercise I can feel my body stronger than it was, particularly in the core, which I’ve been focused on since I realized what all those C sections were doing to me.

I’m learning things about the body I didn’t know before, like: it’s the up and down that really gets the heart going and makes exercise most effective, or flexing certain muscle groups protects others from injury.

It burns a lot of calories. It’s advertised to burn “up to 600,” but I have trouble imagining many people actually hitting that number; nonetheless, it’s a lot. According to my brand-new heart rate monitor set, I’m averaging about 275 calories burned in an hour. That’s equivalent to a grilled cheese sandwich, or a bowl of ice cream (although not a Chocolate Extreme Blizzard, for which I really would need the whole 600!).

So I am now a Jazzercise junkie, membership and all. (Thanks again for that, Kelley.) It will never replace getting outside and finding a quiet place to walk, but let’s be honest, the walking is just to get me to a place where I can sit and be still, anyway.

What keeps you motivated to move?