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Get moving with Zumba

Regular physical activity at any age can help you live longer, feel better and reduce health problems. According to statistics, 35 percent of Americans over the age of 55 are physically inactive. Regular exercise helps control blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol and much more.
One of the most fun forms of exercise for folks of all ages is Zumba classes, and they are in full swing at McMinnville Civic Center. Instructor Melodye Zahn offers classes on Tuesday and Thursday at 6:45 p.m.
“The class is fun, we just love what we are doing,” says Zahn. “The class provides a total body workout, cardio, toning, bone support and it increases metabolism.” She is a registered nurse and has been teaching group fitness for 26 years. 
Zumba is a dance-based workout combining salsa, merengue, flameno and cumbia moves with fun music. The craze started by accident when instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez stumbled on the concept in the mid 1990s. He actually forgot his regular aerobic music for his class, and improvised with his favorite Latin tapes. The last-minute improvisation produced the revolutionary fitness program. Over 14 million people take classes in over 140,000 locations in more than 150 countries.
Rhonda Mason has been taking the classes for almost two years, and is a big fan of the technique.
“I love it, I have always liked to dance, but this is a fun way to exercise,” said Mason. “Melodye is great and she makes the class fun.”
Recently certified Zumba instructor Linnsay Williamson also enjoys the class.
“I have been taking the class for over a year and enjoy it because there is no pressure and is very interactive,” said Williamson. “You do not have to be able to dance to enjoy it, because I had never danced before.”
In addition to classes at the Civic Center, a new class is being formed at USA Gym. Paige Northcutt at USA Gym said, “We will be starting a Zumba class next week on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. We used to have one that I taught, but this will be a new class with a new teacher.”
In fact the class will be taught by Elvira Martinez, who is Hispanic and will be very authentic. Northcutt sings the praises of the exercise form, remembering she was in better condition when she was teaching the class.
“My abdominals were in much better shape when I was doing Zumba,” said Northcutt. She assures all potential clients the class will be easy and fun.
For more information, the Civic Center can be reached at 473-1212, and USA’s number is 473-9355.


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