Heardmont hosts fun aerobics

Published 4:33 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow lay in patches on grass, and black ice dotted the roadway as my car nosed down Highway 119, and into the parking lot of the Heardmont Center. My jaw dropped at the number of parked cars. Temps were below freezing, but dedicated people bounded from vehicles, gym bags and exercise mats under arms.

Aerobics Instructor Donna Jones flipped on music of a bouncy rhythm, while a smiling group of seventeen folks gathered on the hardwood for this twice-weekly exercise routine at Heardmont Senior Center, Mondays and Thursdays at 10am. They usually have twenty-five on the floor, but on this day weather posed a driving hazard.

Jones, whose services are contracted through Greystone YMCA, warmed up the group with stretches. Helen Lann stopped stretching to tell me her story.

“I have diabetes, and have been coming to these classes for six months, and look,” she said, wiggling her feet, “My problems with neuropathy are improving. The feeling is coming back,” she said, smiling.

“March… march,” said Jones, leading the group stepping in place. “Pull in those bellies.”

They followed as Jones led them in a tough, but loving workout. “Now grab a ball,” she said, “Toss the ball up, and catch it. If you miss, you have to do five pushups.”

Everyone laughed, following her lead, feet patting to the music’s rhythm. It was the Beatle’s singing, “Get back… get back… get back to where you once belonged,” and I’m stifling an urge to dance. A covey of more folks arrived, decanting from a ClasTran van, some joining the group on the floor.

Jones calls out, “Push in lower back, belly tight… feel it?”

“Yes,” the group replies in unison. Mats come out for the floor exercise, and some in the group are breaking a sweat. The music slows.

“Now my goal is to keep you exercising regularly, keep you fit and independent,” said Jones. “Assume your positions.”

More giggles erupt, as the group get in a wide firm stance. Jones tests each of the participants’ strength. “You can become stronger,” she said.

Jones leads them to improve strength, flexibility, balance, aerobics, reflexes, and keeps the group giggling in an hour of tough fun. Watch for a new dance exercise coming to Heardmont Center, Zumba Gold, based on Latin moves and music.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.