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?
I am so tempted to try it if only it wasn’t a 45 minute drive both ways. I remember when the Jazzercise was all the craze with two of my aunts and my grandmother being devotees. I guess it was the late 80s early 90s when then it was replaced by step and slide aerobics as the fad then cardio-funk, Tai-Bo etc. I was really heartened to see there is a Jazzercise studio in my area (although a bit further than I am able to travel regularly) that is thriving. And my background as a dancer makes me even more likely to enjoy it. Thanks for this post! I’ll have to see if the studio is offering any type of trial membership so I can make sure it’s something I like enough to make the trip!
It’s a twenty minute drive for me, which makes me grind my teeth just from the perspective of wasted gas…I know there are people who carpool in together from 45 minutes away to our local place.
That is fabulous that you have found something that works so well for you in so many ways! I think there is something to be said for group exercise, even though I am naturally inclined toward solitary exercise.
I wonder if the “up to 600” is based on body mass? I know that I burn a whole lot more calories now than I did when I was 50lbs lighter. ::sigh::
I do think the body mass/weight issue is part of it, and probably also how high impact you choose to make the workout, i.e. do you just lift your feet two inches off the floor or bring the knees all the way up? For the first six weeks I was just trying to wrap my brain around the workouts but now I’m finding my calorie count going up as I’m able to focus on technique a little more.
So where do you buy those duds all the girsl are wearing? How many pieces are there to the outfits? How do you KNOW what is the proper attire to wear to one of these?
Well, Jazzercise sells clothes, but most people come wearing skinny, form-fitting things they find who knows where. And then there’s the rest of us, who come in T shirts and whatever shorts or sweats were on sale. 🙂
Awesome! Exercise is fantastic medicine and fun, I’ll pray you can keep it up. Never done Jazzercise but did try Zumba once, it was fun.
I get most of my exercise biking to work 2-3 times a week, well I drive halfway most of the time but get some 13 miles round trip. The full trip is 30 miles round trip which is very time consuming but great savings on gas. I also play a sport in spring which motivates me to get in shape.
My husband bikes to work sometimes in the summer–that is great exercise.