Burnham, a 42-year-old Winchester resi-dent, said her students range from teensand 20-something moms seeking to losebaby weight to boomers with leg warmersand white hair. One of her classes had a12-year-old and a 90-year-old.The Brockway Elementary group is oneof two Burnham is teaching this yearthrough Umpqua Community College’scommunity education program.Dillard-area resident Pam Moore, aschool bus driver, said she likes the classdemographic. It’s her favorite activity out-side the house, she said.“One reason why I enjoy it so much is itreminds me of my youth. I spent a lot of time in dance classes as a young woman,”said Moore, 55. “I don’t get tired, and Meggives us so much energy.”Canyonville resident Dan Copeland hasbeen taking Zumba classes in South Coun-ty for about a year for cardiovascularhealth. Asurvivor of two triple-bypass sur-geries, the 70-year-old Copeland said hecan’t handle the boredom of a treadmill.But he likes to dance, and he said Zumbahas strengthened his back and boosted hisenergy.He recommends that other men sign upfor Zumba to “save their lives.”“Men don’t move like women, but itdoesn’t matter. It helps every part of yourbody, because you’re using your arms andlegs and getting up your heart rate,” hesaid.Burnham said one of Zumba’s distinc-tive features is the repetition of movement.There are about four to six dance steps,with little verbal cuing. “So if you hear,‘She’ll be comin’round the mountain,’youknow to do a jumping jack,” Burnhamsaid.That makes Zumba particularly good forolder people because it reinforces mind-body memory, according to Burnham. Per-haps equally important, she said, is theeffort a good instructor will make to createan atmosphere in which students don’t feel judged.“If you’re on your left leg, it doesn’tmatter if someone else is on their right,”she said. “We want people to walk awayfeeling successful.”Participant Connie Johnston, a 62-year-old switchboard operator for RoseburgForest Products, has herself taught varioustypes of fitness classes for about 25 years.She lauds Zumba for its accessibility.“As an instructor, you have to reach outto people for all different levels of abilityand health issues, and this is an exerciseyou can do even if you’ve never done itbefore,” she said. “No matter what skilllevel you are, you can participate.”Burnham likes to add a social aspect towhat she calls her Zumba community. Sheselects themes for each class cycle andplans fund drives to benefit schools ornonprofit groups. This term, she’s arrang-ing a “high-jeans” dress-up night, a playon words to raise money forhygiene items to be distrib-uted by an agency assistingthe homeless.The fun-fellowship blendgives yet another dimensionto Burnham’s classes, whichon one recent night stretchedbeyond 60 minutes to includesquats, abs and a cool-downperiod. As she prepared togear down, Burnham demon-strated an abdominal move-ment she wanted students todo slowly, and therefore moreefficiently.“Why is this hard?” sheasked, prompting a mur-mured response from theback.“Wait a minute. Did I justhear, ‘Because we’re old?’”Burnham said, exaggeratingher disbelief. “Come on, now.You’re killing me.”
You can reach Encore Edi-tor Tricia Jones at 541-957-4216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, February 6, 2012–The News-Review, EncoreRoseburg Oregon, Page 3
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