Moves Like Jaggar

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning I teach a toning class called Tone Up/Tone Down.  The class is generally pretty busy and most of the ladies that come are about the age of my mom.  They come early to claim their spots, wearing their best workout clothes and matching shoes.  They typically have their hair done, and some tie bows in their ponytails.  Besides their stereotypical cuteness, these ladies admitted something to me last week: they have moves like Jagger. They told me so. The comment was,” You know, they make the biggest fuss about Mick Jagger and that he dances around the way he does at his age. Well I know at least 25 ladies older than him in this class that can dance better!”

These ladies aren’t your normal baby boomers.  Yes, they come to fitness classes at their local community center, far from your normal gym, and they are amazing.  They come religiously to class, and when they have to miss, they tell me with sincere apologies. On top of that, the exercises I chose for them aren’t for the light of heart either.  A couple of years ago, the class used to be called “Build a Better You”, which was considered a low-level general fitness class. The ladies came to me and asked if I could teach Body Sculpting instead.  Shocked, I agreed, warning them to be careful for what they ask for.  Our class went from sitting on a stability ball and using light hand weights to doing push ups, burpees, walking lunges, and elbow planks.  They moved from 3 pound hand weights to 5’s and 8’s.  They do wall squats for minutes, and sing while they do them.

So these ladies come to my class for an hour, then they go to Yoga for another hour. Just like my class, the Yoga is a Vinyasa flow class, similar to a power yoga class. The class involves flowing movements that keep them moving, rather than a simple stretching class. Following Yoga, the ladies stay for a 3rd hour, taking Zumba for their cardiovascular exercise of the day.

What keeps these ladies coming back to a marathon of classes? Firstly, these classes are offered at their Community Center. It’s a gorgeous facility, but it’s not a gym. Generally, the crowd that attends isn’t the die-hard type. It’s more like your “Average Joe’s” kind of gym. In all of our classes, us teachers stress to just do your best at what you feel you can. There aren’t any expectations, there aren’t any competitions. Just do what you can, and you will grow to more things as you practice. Secondly, it’s a social butterfly’s dream to come to these classes. These ladies have developed quite the social network. They have luncheons, they go on kayaking trips, and they have birthday parties. They have an email list and a phone tree. They even band up together to help other classmates who are sick. They have made great friends with each other, and those friends keep them accountable when it comes to attending class. Finally, these 60 year old ladies can say that they are doing the same kind of exercises that their daughters are doing, and that’s a very big deal!

My 8 a.m. are inspiring and amazing. I plan on staying fit and moving through my life, so I can take classes like they do when I get to their stage of life!

Karen Tickner