Today’s exercise – Joyus

The exercise gurus tell us that you need to change your exercise routine and mix it up. Any time I’m not hiking, I go to the YMCA for my gym routine or a yoga class. I’ve been doing this for years. The experts would say that I need to try something new.

Today I went to a Joyus Groove class at the YMCA in Woodfin, north of Asheville. Leanna Joyner, a writer and project manager for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, leads the class. How shall I describe it? It’s a combination of dance, feeling the music along with some flexibility routine. It’s not really aerobic but it gets you moving. It turns out that Leanna is the only certified instructor in Asheville – maybe in all of North Carolina.

Though Leanna is the instructor, she emphasizes that we need to do our own thing. Yeah, right. The instructor tells me to do something; I do it. It’s a lot more fun than the elliptic machine and certainly less boring than weight training.

I’ve always been a sucker for exercise classes. First, there was Jane Fonda. I went to classes where the leader just put on a Jane Fonda tape and we all jumped around  together.

Then I did Jazzercise for a long, long time, much of it on a concrete floor. Yeah, I knew that the concrete floor at the local fire station was bad for my knees but I liked the instructor and the camaraderie. Jazzercise is big on friendships.

Finally, I buckled down to yoga. First it was so slow that it was catatonic but at the Asheville “Y”, I found a flow yoga class. We move, yet it concentrates on flexibility – an important part of my  fitness routine.

I experimented with Nia, another dance exercise program. But the leader at class wanted us to dance in our bare feet. No! I need my feet, ankles and toes for hiking.

Zumba is fun but it’s too much jumping for me. I get into it and then feel it in my neck afterwards. I knew that if I shook my head too much with Joyus, I’d have the same neck problem but then I said “the heck with it, I’ll deal with the pain later.”

The classes are at 9 am, which is not convenient for me. I wish she could schedule them in the late afternoon. It was fun and the people were friendly and joyous.  

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