Jazzercise Lite: Less Bounce for boomers

Maureen “Moe” Guilfoyle can’t jump like she used to.

But she can still jive. She can still sweat.

And she can still wear that Madonna-style headset.

The dance-loving Omaha secretary, who at age 53 became one of the oldest new Jazzercise instructors in America, had to give up her beloved dance workout last fall after a slip while gardening injured her hip.

After she healed, dancing and jumping with her usual vigor were impossible. And the 30 pounds she had gained while sidelined didn’t help.

She didn’t give up, though. With her doctor’s OK, she returned to Jazzercise classes as a student in January, doing lowimpact versions of the moves while younger and fitter types bounced and bounded across the floor.

And next week, the 58-year-old will don her headset microphone once again and take the stage to lead a different sort of Jazzercise class.

Called Jazzercise Lite, it’s a low-intensity version of the dance- inspired workout. It’s intended primarily for the 50-plus, baby boomer set. But Guilfoyle said it also will serve anyone who is uncomfortable doing high-impact aerobics because of age, weight or health conditions. While Jazzercise outlets across the country have offered Lite versions for years, Guilfoyle’s appears to be the first Lite-only class in the Omaha area.

She wished she’d had one while she was recovering.

“They always show the low-impact modification in a regular Jazzercise routine, but it’s not the same,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure in the mixed classes. You don’t want to be the only one doing low impact.”

Guilfoyle said the Lite class still includes heart-thumping music, dance moves and strength training. But it omits the bouncing, hopping and jumping, and slows the pace of turns to limit injury to knees, hips and other joints. It also adds back support on sit-ups and other floor exercises.

“We’ll still be increasing our heart rate, blood flow and circulation and doing all those good things for your heart and lungs, muscles and bones,” she said. “We just won’t hop when we do it, and we’ll be safe.”

Guilfoyle said she started the class for herself and other baby boomers who want to keep exercising as they age.

“You can’t just sit down and stop moving. Because, eventually, you won’t ever be able to get up,” she said. “I can imagine doing low impact until I’m 70 or 80.”

Starting next week, Jazzercise Lite will be offered at 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays at the Omaha Jazzercise Center, 8558 Park Drive. Cost is $8 for a day pass, $88 for eight weeks or $37 a month if you set up an automatic bank withdrawal for payment. For information, call 331-2120.

Can’t jump?

Tips for exercisers limited by age or injury: Don’t quit, but do modify and get a doctor’s OK. Choose low impact or beginner versions of exercises you enjoy. Don’t skimp on warm-ups. They help prevent further aches and injury. Slow the pace, particularly for motions that involve twisting of the joints. Lose the bounce. Instead of heel hops and skips, do heel touches and march in place. Source: Maureen Guilfoyle, Omaha Jazzercise Lite instructor.

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