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What is Jazzercise&Reg;?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2016
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Jazzercise® is a combination of cardio dance moves, and other forms of exercise disciplines. This particular fitness program was innovated by Judi Shepherd Misset in 1969. It began to gain popularity in the 1970s when Misset moved to San Diego and started to teach classes there. By the mid to late 1970s this cardio and exercise program had become a successful franchise business. New instructors were trained either by tape or in classes taught by Misset, and knowledge of Jazzercise® spread throughout the US and to other countries.

Continued involvement by Misset has meant updates and changes in the Jazzercise® workout. There are plenty of workouts on tape for those who don’t have local classes and these may be tailored to specific exercise needs. For instance there are prenatal and post-natal tapes/DVDs that are dedicated to working core muscles. The degree of variety in Jazzercise® classes taught locally may depend on the reach of the franchise owner. Certainly, basic classes will be offered, but there might be other classes, too. Frequently, only the basics are available.

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The standard Jazzercise® class is very much like many aerobic dance classes. Classes are an hour long and begin with a warm-up period. This is followed by half an hour of vigorous dance oriented moves that elevate the heart rate by incorporating movements of major muscle groups. Approximately 15 minutes of anaerobic exercise on various muscle groups may end the hour or be followed by a cool-down period. Variations in classes could incorporate things like kick-boxing, step, and use of small free weights and/or having classes that go slower, are shorter, or are designed for people of specific age groups or who have medical issues.

There are a few criticisms of Jazzercise®. Though all instructors are uniformly trained, certain franchises offer classes in less than ideal settings. Given the aerobic dance nature of part of the workout, attention should be paid to the floor. Wooden floors are preferable and things like concrete or carpet over concrete could be hard on the feet and legs. Additionally, even though instructors are trained exactly in the same manner, some may differ in skills, and some classes could be better than others.

Jazzercise® is often thought of as a vestige of the late 1970s and early 80s, but this exercise program is still very alive and offered in a number of communities. If people have trouble finding classes close to home, visiting the company website may help since it has a search class function. Many people like the dance elements, which may be slightly more complex than other forms of aerobic dancing, but are still fairly easy to follow, especially after taking a few classes.

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