Hey friends, it’s been a while! I inadvertently took some time away from this site to catch up on home life, work on my other business, and travel to a couple new destinations. I visited Washington D.C. and the Lake of the Ozarks in October, so in the next few weeks I plan on sharing a little recap from each vacation in case you ever find yourself in one of those places.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share a review of my all-time favorite fitness program: Jazzercise. In my bio, I talk about my love for dancing. And fortunately I get to do it every single time I attend a Jazzercise class.
This may come as a surprise, but Jazzercise isn’t just for the leotard-clad ladies of the ’80s anymore. I discovered it when I was in my senior year of college, about eight months from my wedding date and needing to get back into shape. My mom had taken a few classes several years before and thought it might be something I would like so we went together. I’ll admit I was pretty skeptical about whether I was going to get a good workout from “only dancing.”
During the class I was huffing and puffing and loving every minute of it. So much that I’m still doing it eight years later. I only took a hiatus twice – once when I lived in a city that didn’t offer classes and then in the months after my daughter was born (I still Jazzercised while I was pregnant – and credit it for a smooth pregnancy and helping me get back in shape afterwards!).
What is Jazzercise?
It’s a choreographed aerobic exercise and dance fitness class with several formats available depending on what the Jazzercise center offers where you live. The traditional and most popular “Dance Mixx” workout is a 60-minute class with about 30-40 minutes of cardio and 20-25 minutes of strength training.
What to expect from a Jazzercise class
What I appreciate and find non-intimidating about Jazzercise is the mix of age groups. Everyone from college students to senior-aged women is getting their groove on. It’s a judgment-free zone and a community of varying fitness levels – a workout intended to be safe and effective for the general population. But you usually won’t find any leotards, leg warmers, or huge ’80s bangs. 😉
Almost all of the songs are Top 40, which I personally love. Plus, Jazzercise refreshes their routines/music every two to three months so there are always new songs in the rotation. Each instructor chooses their own playlist for each class.
Many of the songs are specifically assigned intensity levels based on where they’re placed in the workout, so instructors can strategically order a playlist to maximize the aerobic effect for the cardio portion. Then for the strength-training component there are songs with a strong steady beat that help propel you through the reps of lifting weights. All of the choreographed movements match the beat of the music.
If you’ve taken Zumba before, it’s possible you might not like the more structured and methodical approach to Jazzercise. Zumba is more freestyle and shaking your booty, while Jazzercise has been created with a fitness focus to provide maximum benefit whether it’s for getting the heart rate up or fatiguing a certain muscle. But don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of fun dance moves thrown into the mix.
The choreography is basic and easy to follow, and if you have a good instructor they’ll be giving you cues as they go along, making it all the more simple for you to just watch, move, and have a good time.
If you’re going to be a serious “Jazzerciser,” it’s wise to invest in a pair of athletic sneakers that allow lateral movement and have good support for all of the potential jumping you might be doing (one of the brands Jazzercise recommends is Ryka).
The only other items needed are cropped pants or leggings (some of the workouts are done on a mat on the floor and shorts aren’t always the best idea, if you catch my drift) and a tank top (expect to SWEAT).
What I personally love about Jazzercise
It doesn’t feel like working out.
It’s basically one big dance party with an awesome playlist. Once the music gets going and you start dancing your heart out, the time flies and before you realize it class is almost over. That’s the best kind of workout, in my opinion.
It’s good for cognition.
Health experts say that beyond the physical aspects of fitness, it’s imperative to exercise your brain “muscles” too. With Jazzercise, you can do both at the same time. Dance can challenge your mind and body when you add in new movements, combinations, and memory recall for the verses and choruses of each song.
It’s adjustable to your fitness level and health considerations.
While the nature of dance cardio is rather high-impact, there are low-impact options for every movement in the Jazzercise repertoire. Some instructors are better than others at demonstrating it during class (you can always just march it out or make up your own move if they aren’t showing the low-impact version and then ask after class), but there is always a modification available if you have joint issues, or if certain movements cause you any difficulty or pain.
While it is considered a total body workout, it seriously works your core.
Between all of the lateral movements, twisting, turning, leaning, and holding your core in to protect your back from some of the funkier dance club moves, Jazzercise will chisel your waist in the cardio segment alone. Not to mention there are even more core-strengthening exercises in the latter portion of the class. If you’re wanting to tighten your mid-section, look no further for the ultimate abs workout!
Jazzercise’s Trial Offer
Jazzercise is always running some kind of promotion for new members, and their latest is the “Fall Free Days.” Through October 31, you can get seven days free of unlimited workouts with no strings attached. More info on the free pass here.
Jazzercise is certainly not for everyone, but the music is beat-pumping, the routines are easy to follow, and you get real results, which in turn makes it easy to stick with. I’m not sure what more you could want in a fitness regimen! (All images above courtesy of Jazzercise, Inc. and Jazzercise Lincoln North)
What’s your favorite fitness program or mode of exercise? I still love home workouts (like 21 Day Fix and others) and do those when I can’t get to a class, but Jazzercise has my heart.