By LOU WILIN
Chase Eikenbary hesitated at first to turn her “fun hobby” of Jazzercise into a side business.
She worried whether she could balance it with her career. She was concerned her beloved stress-relieving workout could morph into an added source of stress.
She was thrust into thinking about the unthinkable when her Jazzercise instructor was moving and offered her the franchise.
An answer of “no” would have been a no-brainer, except that — as sometimes occurs in matters dear to us — it would have brought an abrupt end to her beloved exercise routine. She had lost it before, years earlier, and had missed it when a previous instructor had stopped.
Eikenbary did not want to go back to those Jazzercise-less days.
“I thought, ‘If I do become an instructor, I know it will be here to stay because I don’t plan on going anywhere,'” she said.
She also felt responsible for her fellow Jazzercisers.
That was several years ago, in Bluffton. Eikenbary is glad she bought the franchise and became a certified instructor.
Now she has added a Jazzercise outpost in downtown Findlay. She and her instructors offer morning and evening sessions throughout the week at The Crawford Street Gym, 121 E. Crawford St. Classes last 60 minutes.
Her students include teenagers on up to senior citizens, and all body styles and fitness levels, even in the same class, Eikenbary said.
Jazzercise “works for anybody because you can modify or you can go all out,” she said. “You have ladies who come to class, they want to get every move correct and they are intense. Or you have some that, maybe they had a bad day or maybe their feet hurt or they’re nursing an injury or maybe their bodies don’t allow for it, so they’re just making the moves work or whatever.”
Jazzercise not only offers an aerobic workout, it incorporates strength-building moves in each class, Eikenbary said.
Students do not need to be talented dancers.
“We’re not here for style points. We’re here to do the moves correctly and to gain some muscles and to kind of chisel some body areas,” she said.
It’s about the muscles.
“It’s not just moving your hips and kind of sashaying around,” Eikenbary said. “If we’re doing a hip walk, you are always thinking, ‘How is that muscle related to that move?’ So, I’m lifting my hip, but with the help of my abs, my abs are fully engaged so I can move with that hip walk.
“Or I’m skipping and then I’m running, but when I’m running, my lower abs are (engaged) and my knees are coming up with the help of my lower abs,” she said.
She pumped her arms like a boxer.
“We do a lot of strike. We do a lot of uppercuts,” Eikenbary said. “We do a lot of hooks and jabs. So very, very kickboxing-ish.”
Science supports the Jazzercise moves and routines. Physiologists at the Jazzercise headquarters in California review all routines and choreography to ensure muscles are being used and moved correctly and safely for everybody, she said.
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