For this week’s neighborhood post, I observed a jazzercise class.
I went into the class expecting to see middle-aged women in tight bike shorts and sports bras with headbands rocking out to ’80s classics.
Instead, I saw middle-aged women in regular work out clothes jumping, kicking and shaking to Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and the Black Eyed Peas.
Jazzercise started in California 1969 by Judi Sheppard Missett, and is now an international franchise company. The franchise in Eugene is owned by Lesli Turner and has been at 8th and Monroe for over 25 years.
This afternoon I met Kelley Blewster, an instructor, who told me Judi (who’s now in her 60s) choreographs routines to songs and sends them to instructors on DVDs about five times a year. Instructors can then mix and match the songs to create a unique workout every time.
The exercise room has bright yellow walls and a black, cushy floor. There is a stage in the front for the instructor, who wears a microphone and plays music off her ipod. There are seven women in this 4:15 p.m. class, all of whom look over 40.
The routines have lots of repetition, and are a mix of kickboxing, dance, yoga and pilates. They listen to new and old songs. And they all seem to have fun.
“We are taking control of our hips,” Kelley says during a particularly tough routine. She’s energetic and encouraging.
Kelley told me about an 84-year-old who regularly attends the morning classes. And the Register-Guard just ran an article about Mibs Barker, an 80-year-old jazzercise instructor who just retired.
Jazzercise doesn’t seem to be the fad it once was but seems to have some loyal fans.