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Step into Fitness Dance your way to a beautifully strong and flexible body. by Sandra Murphy


ichard Simmons grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans where, he notes, “Lard was a food group and dessert mandatory.” Exercise studios were geared to those already in shape, not to people that wanted to lose weight. So in 1974, Simmons opened Slimmons studio, followed by his classic exercise video, Sweatin’ to the Old-

ies, with motivating tunes like Dancing in the Street, Summer in the City and Loco-Motion; a plus—not everyone in his video is a size 0. Simmons and others have been helping people dance their way to fitness ever since.

was inspired to get a move on when she complained to her 15-yearold son, Benny, about her weight. “Benny challenged me to do some basic Wii Fitness and then Zumba Fitness,” says Woloshin. “I give myself the right to fail at most exercises and dance moves; I just keep moving and let my son give me tips, pointers and instruction.” Benny puts in his own dance fitness time, plus keeps mom on track for 30 minutes a day. The Wii video game keeps score. “I win sometimes; mostly with yoga, while he is terrific at dance stuff,” Woloshin says. “I’ve logged more than 1,200 days with the Wii so far, and love to shake my size 14 self. I’ve lost eight pounds and have built an incredible relationship with my teenager. We dance, compete, sweat and encourage each other. “We also enjoy conversations before and after Wii time. Are they meaningful? Sometimes. Does he laugh at me? Definitely. Does he look forward to our evening dance workouts together? Absolutely.” Wii games popular around the country include Just Dance, versions one and two, and Just Dance Kids plus Gold’s Gym Dance Workout and Zumba Fitness.

Making Dance a Game

Popular DVDs

In Portland, Oregon, Mara Woloshin

In 2011, compiled a list of the best dance videos they ever reviewed. The list launches with their hands-down favorite, So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit series. Melt away calories using a variety of dance styles and fun moves via Billy Blanks’ Dance with Me Groove & Burn. Several Dancing with the Stars cast members have videos out to improve fans’ look and style. Check out Cheryl Burke Presents Disco Abs (includes Village People’s classic YMCA) or Julianne Hough’s Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom. More experienced dancers may like Dancing with the Stars Ballroom Buns and Abs.

Taking Fun Classes “Zumba Gold is a great reentry to 32

Miami-Dade/Florida Keys

exercise for “Find a class baby boomand an instrucers” advises tor you like,” Sherry Lucas, a counsels Lucas. licensed Zumba “Make a commitinstructor in St. ment to having Louis. “Classes some ‘you’ time. are approachPart of exercise able, available is being social, ~ Mara Woloshin and affordable.” so it’s a chance Recommended to make new workout wear friends, too.” includes comfortable sweat-wicking Doctor of Naturopathy Kathy Gruclothing and a good pair of shoes. ver, Ph.D., finds that a hip-hop workBecause of the side-to-side movements, out best suits her needs four to five she suggests tennis or basketball shoes, times a week. Each 90-minute class is non-stop action and she rarely takes a not running shoes. Community classes generally range break, although some class members don’t dance the entire time. from 45 to 90 minutes (find a local Gruver works out at Rhythm class at An hour-long Dance & Fitness Studios, near Santa regular Zumba class can burn 400 to Barbara, California, with choreogra600 calories says Lucas, depending pher Tamarr Paul. “I grew up dancing upon body weight, workout intensity, jazz, tap and ballet; nothing even close conditioning level and individual to hip-hop, and there are still moments metabolism. As a point of reference, that I can’t get a certain move or trip charts calories over my own feet. Still, it took just a burned by a 155-pound person enfew weeks to get my rhythm back and gaged in an hour of light calisthenics at get in the groove,” says Gruver. “We 246 calories; leisurely biking, 281; and run through a set of steps multiple walking briskly uphill, 422.

“Give a kid more control and you just might discover a workout partner.”

times before we add more. Once we’ve learned a whole dance, we run it over and over to different music; some faster, some slower.” With dance, there’s something just right for everyone. Dance with the kids, the dog, while making the beds or vacuuming crumbs. Dance along with a video or take a class to learn something new and different while making new friends. In any case, breathe in the music. It all makes exercise fun. Sandra Murphy is a freelance writer at

natural awakenings

March 2012


Dancing for Fitness  
Dancing for Fitness  

dancing fitness