I've been doing Jazzercise for more than 12 years. I count it by Ken's and my relationship, because when we were dating we would go to Brandon's roller hockey games and practices at the Spinning Wheels Roller Rink in Denton. Jazzercise had classes there that ended just before the kids went out on the floor, and I got interested, and it seemed like it would be convenient to work out and then meet the guys there for events. (That never really happened, BTW; I ended up going at different times.)
I remember when I first did JC, it was hard to get into the movements (although, like any child of the 70's and 80's, I'd done plenty of aerobics, Jane Fonda LP, anyone?). But once I did, they were there in my body's "hard drive" and doing new routines became easy and enjoyable. And the instructors talked to us, and told us stories, and it was funny and fun. I liked it.
Another important part of why JC works for me is that people wear whatever (from fancy workout clothes to schlumpy shorts and t-shirts), and there are NO mirrors in the studios. I think that is a franchise rule. I do NOT need to be watching myself work out...it causes me to think mean things (about me!) or competitive things, and frankly, none of that is productive or my business. My current studio has 2 smoked-glass windows separating it from the next room, and I am careful to position myself in the room where I can't look over and see me.
Over the years, I had some significant breaks from JC, for both good and dumb reasons. Going back was always hard, but every time there was the little spark of joy I'd find when I realized I was enjoying it again, and then eventually I'd start finding ways to make the workout more effective...paying attention to form rather than just slogging through it. Getting to that point feels completely awesome.
I took a long break after a knee injury a few years ago, and I've never really gotten back into the routine of going to class for a significant period of time. And, unhappy about the resultant weight gain, I was just getting there again in Spring last year when my right shoulder and arm started to hurt. Doctors advised me against Jazzercise until we figured out what it was. An MRI showed a pinched nerve in my neck. I tried all that they had to offer: Physical therapy and drugs. Nope. On my own, I sought out acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage. All helped, briefly. Nothing helped over the long term.
In the meantime I had gained MORE weight (oy) and saw pictures of myself from the RevGals BE (AUGH!) and so I thought, "why not...if it makes my shoulder worse, so be it." So I went back to Jazzercise. And man, it is harder than ever to get back into it: because I am heavier than ever, because I now have a "trick" knee to watch out for, because I need to watch my posture to make sure my shoulder is not in the funny place it sometimes goes.
And yet: while it's taking longer to get to that sweet spot of enjoyment, I can see it ahead of me. Yesterday's morning class was a blast; all the music was energetic and fun, and I had a great time. My mother will often say, "Be sure you sing that hymn at my funeral!" and I had a passing thought during class to ask the instructor afterward, "Hey, will you do that set at my funeral?
Hmm, Jazzercise at a funeral. Not bad. If you had Jazzercisers at your funeral.
There's a woman who comes to class there named Pat, and I do believe she is in her 70's. She comes to many, many classes, often more than one a day. I understand she also swims for exercise. Pat modifies some of the movements (as I also do, now) to meet her physical abilities...but she is THERE. I want to be Pat. I want to be showing up and moving my body when I am 78. God willing!
I am really grateful to the folks who have been at Denton Jazzercise for a long time who always welcome me back warmly when I show up, and don't say, "where the hell have you been!?" The answer is generally clear on my body...I've been out there falling into disrepair.
And, hey, you know what? My shoulder is GETTING BETTER. Without the drugs. So there.