I'm a children's book author, radio presenter of 'By the Book' for Radio Northern Beaches, and freelance writer. Check out www.brydiewright.com for more about
Published February 12th 2017
The original and the best
When I was a little girl I loved dancing. I gravitated towards ballet and after a short-lived career as a ballerina, I discovered jazz ballet. I'm not sure I was any good but I loved the feeling of movement, rhythm and catchy routines to pop songs. Hopeless at running, jumping and strengthening activity, I relished the cardio workout dance provided, with the opportunity to sing as I exercised.
Fast-forward to the present and I've become disillusioned with strength-focussed gyms and expensive personal training sessions. I just want some good old-fashioned fun when I exercise and to burn fat without losing my curves. And did I mention I'm nearing forty? So, above all, I'm looking for a comfortable, safe space for exercising with other women and an intensity level that matches my body's limitations.
I was losing fitness and starting to despair when I came across a Think Local voucher for Jazzercise Northern Beaches. Yes, that's right, Jazzercise.
Is that still a thing? Is it like aerobics, from the 80s?
Well, yes and yes. I'd describe it as a cross between jazz ballet and aerobics and as I've discovered, it's still very much a thing, even after 45 years. The 'original dance party workout' has well and truly evolved with the times and what's more, I highly recommend you give it a go.
One Hot Dance Party - promotional image courtesy of Narrabeen Jazzercise Facebook page
Shirley, Nicola, Kate and Katrina are the highly experienced instructors, with a loyal following of ladies across three generations, some who've been coming 20, or even 30 years. With the pace at which new gyms come and go these days, such consistency is almost unheard of in the fitness space.
Gyms can be intimidating places, especially when you are overweight or getting older. Imagine my relief, when I arrived to enrol for my first Jazzercise class and was warmly welcomed by members of the registration team, and other members of the class, many of whom were my age group and above, with a healthy mixture of physiques. This is what exercise should be about; encouraging all ages to become healthy while having fun, not selling an unattainable image of fitness and body worship.
Even in the heat, the loyal Narrabeen Jazzercisers are engaged with the catchy routines
The instructors at Jazzercise keep it upbeat and current, with the latest tunes from the radio and short, sharp routines that are easy to pick up and work different parts of the body. Over the course of an hour, you can burn up to 800 calories with a variety of cardio, strength, Pilates, hip hop, yoga and kickboxing moves. The routines are perfectly balanced and appealing to a wide variety of fitness levels, with standing and floor options for abdominal work.
Jazzercise Narrabeen offers classes daily with 9.30am or 6.30pm sessions and it's most economical to pay a monthly fee which includes unlimited workouts. I went four times this week, enabled by the excellent babysitting service at the morning sessions (on weekdays).
Jazzercise promotional montage courtesy of Jazzercise Narrabeen Facebook page
So, how are you feeling about your fitness routine lately? Is it missing that certain pizazz that will keep you interested? There's a reason Jazzercise took the world by storm in the 80s and with a loyal following to this day, maybe 2017 is just the year to get back into dance.