Get moving at free low-impact Zumba classesJan 05, 2023 11:42AM ● By Kerry Angelbuer
Jenny Love, the Zumba instructor, specializes in making dance exercise available to everyone, especially older adults. Photo courtesy of Jenny Love.
Two Saturdays a month in the WX City Hall Multipurpose Room (enter on the East side), Jenny Love teaches two Zumba classes beginning at 11:30. On her own fitness journey, she encourages her students that “movement is medicine, and it doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you are having fun.” She keeps her classes simple and accessible to most. Zumba, dancing to energetic music, tends to make her students leave with a smile. The first class at 11:30 is called Zumba Gold and is less intense with lower impact than her regular class which starts 45 minutes later. Love said that most people who come stay for both classes. Zumba can be addictive that way – it makes you feel so good you just can’t get enough.
In a recent study conducted by BYU Life Sciences, it was found that exercise also improves memory by increasing a factor that helps brains form new synapses. These synapses have a role in learning and make it easier to absorb information and form long-term memories. In fact, research out of Harvard suggests that moving can result is larger volume of brain cells in areas that are associated with thinking and memory. It only takes about six months for the activity to impact the volume of these vital areas in the brain. Although much of the research is done on walking, any kind of aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping should have similar effects.
Love visited her doctor in 2020 and was told that she had developed type two diabetes. Rather than take medication, she told her doctor she would change her lifestyle, so she started working out at the South Davis Recreation Center. She started taking two-three Zumba classes a week and then upped it to five-six classes. She lost weight and regulated her blood sugars. She was so thrilled with her success she often took more than one class a day. After a few months, one of the Zumba instructors suggested that she train to become a teacher herself. In January 2021 she became a certified Zumba teacher and immediately obtained additional certification to teach lower impact classes for older or beginning students. Regular Zumba teachers are thick on the ground, but teaching the lower impact classes is a niche that needed to be filled. This fall, she also started teaching a Community Education class at Woods Cross High School once a week. Although this class is not free like the community class at city hall, the next session of Zumba gold at WXHS will start Thursday, Jan. 19. She even teaches a chair Zumba class at an assisted living center in Sandy.
Zumba can help improve memory, said Love. Her husband, who has Parkinson’s disease struggles with memory and movement. When he can do the physical workout, he feels much more alert and capable. Classes in January are scheduled on two Saturdays, Jan. 14 and 28. In February, classes will be held Feb. 11 and 18. Love said the Zumba fitness community is so supportive and inclusive. “It’s not about you, I tell my students that if I fall over, they should keep moving.”