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Zumba Classes

Zumba Classes

Zumba classes

Exercise program
Image by USAG-Humphreys
By Lori Yerdon
USAG Humphreys Public Affairs

The Latin-inspired dance-fitness program Zumba classes came to School Age Services for the first time on Feb. 11, and 13 children gave the after school program a shot.
For some of the kids this was their first attempt at the fitness class with instructor Karen Morton but for others, Zumba is an activity they look forward to each week at Humphreys American School.
Morton, a second grade teacher at HAS, offers Zumba classes to students, their parents and fellow teachers twice a week at school and she thought it would be beneficial to offer the class at CYSS too.
“As a teacher, I’m seeing more and more obese children,” Morton said. “I’ve seen a pattern in all my years of teaching and children are just not active anymore. I remember when kids would go outside and play and climb trees but kids don’t do that anymore. That’s why kids have a problem with obesity today.”
A student of Morton’s, Cailyn Meswain, age 7, said “The class is fun and I like to dance.” Meswain has the opportunity to take Zumba classes three times a week now that it’s being offered at SAS.
After the inaugural workout, Morton talked with the kids and explained the importance of good nutrition, being active and why they should get up from behind their computers and video games to exercise.
“A lot of children nowadays are doing nothing,” Morton told the kids. “They are just playing video games and if kids don’t work out when they’re young, they may have problems when they get older, like heart disease or diabetes.”
“Your bodies aren’t meant for you to sit; you need to move your bodies,” she added.
Nine years ago, doctors told Morton she was morbidly obese and with that diagnosis, she made a decision to change her lifestyle and to lose weight for the sake of her health.
“The reason I started working out is because my heart was failing me. I had knee problems,” Morton said. “After doctors said I was morbidly obese, I promised myself that I would work out and that I would help others.”
Once Morton made changes in her diet and began to exercise regularly, she began to inspire and motivate others to live healthier lives as well.
She has started fitness clubs at each of the schools she has taught, and now her drive and dedication to help others has brought her to School Age Services.
Zumba is “fun because I get to dance and exercise,” said David Polaski, age 8.
Morton told the kids “Even if you don’t come back to this Zumba class, get out and be active. Go for a walk or run. Everyone should be active for at least 30 minutes a day.”
“I’ve gone to Zumba classes before myself and it was so much fun and I think that Zumba is a way to show kids that fitness is fun,” said Karla Burke, the program director for SAS. “It’s important to show children at this age that they need to be physically fit.”
The official Zumba web site said that since its inception in 2001, Zumba Fitness has grown to become the world’s largest and most successful dance-fitness program with more than 10 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking Zumba classes in more than 90,000 locations in more than 110 countries.
The Zumba class is offered on Fridays at the SAS building and children in grades first through fifth that are registered with SAS in Building 570 are eligible to participate. For more information on this and other CYSS programs, call Burke at 753-8507.


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