If you're the sort who prefers to grimace and grunt through your workout, skip Jazzercise. The hourlong, dance-based exercise program is intentionally fun. It features upbeat tunes and booty-shaking. If you have the right leader, there's a hefty dose of silliness. It's also good for getting your heart pumping and building muscle strength and flexibility.
If you’re the sort who prefers to grimace and grunt through your workout, skip Jazzercise.
The hourlong, dance-based exercise program is intentionally fun. It features upbeat tunes and booty-shaking. If you have the right leader, there’s a hefty dose of silliness. It’s also good for getting your heart pumping and building muscle strength and flexibility.
Almost the first thing that Jazzercise enthusiasts and instructors will tell you is that the 44-year-old program isn’t the old-school legwarmers-and-leotards workout you might remember and possibly mock.
It’s a serious workout wrapped in a fun package, they say. Today’s Jazzercise still focuses on dancing your way to good health, but it has elements of Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training.
And the music and choreography are ever-changing to keep things fresh.
“People think we’re dated and we’re their mom’s workout,” said Christine Zoyhofski, owner and instructor at Upper Arlington Jazzercise. “We used to be barefoot. We used to be in school cafeterias.”
No longer. Jazzercise franchisees have studios. Participants wear workout shoes and use equipment, including free weights, during workouts.
Classes attract everyone from those too young to drive to those old enough to be their great-grandmas.
Jazzercise rolls out 30 new songs and routines every 10 weeks, keeping the mix fresh, Zoyhofski said. A recent class included songs from Ke$ha, AC/DC and Muse.
Participants can burn about 600 calories in an hour workout, she said.
The intensity of the workout is up to the individual, and most sessions include people of all ages and abilities, Zoyhofski said. Some low-intensity classes are offered for those dealing with joint problems and other health challenges.
Classes include about 35 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training and 5 minutes of stretching, Zoyhofski said.
Michele Zimmerman, owner and instructor of Jazzercise locations in Gahanna and Pickerington, said she enjoys the camaraderie in the classes and the freshness of the workouts.
She said she’s convinced that’s why many people stick with it for years.
“We pride ourselves in giving a great workout, and we’re not stuck in the ’80s,” Zimmerman said.
Drop-in classes are available, but most people have memberships. Fees vary depending on the package and the studio you attend.
As a first-timer, you might feel a little offbeat, as if you’re in a line dance you haven’t seen before. Zimmerman said some how-to online videos can help those who want to practice common moves at home.
After a little practice, Jazzercise is not hard to follow, and nobody’s there to laugh at you if you can’t. More likely, they’re laughing at themselves or the instructor.