‘If you don’t use, you lose it’

Seventy-year-old Margie Fredrickson has always been an active person, but in 1986 she found herself unable to get out of bed.

“I could barely move,” said Fredrickson, whose doctors took a long seven months to finally make a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

A class at Tacoma Community College given by the Arthritis Foundation led her to water aerobics.

“I started to feel better every day,” she said, adding that fibromyalgia made her muscles feel extremely tight. She said the warm water soothed and relaxed those tight muscles and she began to feel more like herself.

“The Arthritis Foundation was such a lifeline for me, giving me something I could do,” said Fredrickson.

Soon she was teaching the water aerobics class, having been certified as an instructor, and her life began to return to normal.  She joined Weight Watchers, lost 61 pounds and joined a jazzercise class led by Kimberly DeMile of Federal Way Jazzercise.

DeMile said that she has many seniors in her class.

“It certainly helps them with their balance, because one of the main things that we’re told to do as we age is to be sure to do weight-bearing exercises,” she said.

Her classes include using weights, exercise balls, strengthening core muscles and lots of dancing.

“When you are dancing you are constantly moving your upper body, so your core strength is continually challenged and worked,” said DeMile, adding that it isn’t necessary to overdo things in order to work out and maintain good health.

“We aren’t becoming professional body builders, just staying healthy and keeping our weight down and making sure your heart is working in a non-competitive environment,” she said.

Every movement is tailored, and there is hopping, skipping and jumping with clients always having the option to revert to a low impact workout at any time during the classes.

The workout starts out slowly with a warmup, and after a short time, people start to peel off their extra sweatshirts and get into the swing of things. Weights, exercise bands and balls are at their feet, waiting to be pulled into action as the class moves forward.

While some may feel that they aren’t coordinated enough to do some of the dance moves, DeMile says, “We are not talking about ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

DeMile encourages men and women of all ages to give Jazzercise five to seven classes to see how it goes. Some of the classes focus on body-sculpting, while others are dance-based. Each week offers a variety of opportunities to exercise and have fun doing it.

“The bottom line is if you don’t use it, you lose it,” said DeMile.Jazzercise2-color-web