A new home means a new exercise routine

I recently moved, and am back to my roots in the Southtowns of Western New York, after living happily in Northtowns for over 30 years. Among the many and mostly fun changes is more snow.


Other than the new roundabouts, I am familiar with the surroundings and gradually find new places to spend my money and am starting to feel settled.


Mary Nicotera, from Orchard Park

I knew before I moved that I would miss my beloved Ellicott Creek Trailway. I walked this route several times a week, for many years. My dilemma was to find something new and interesting to keep me moving. Fun yet effective.

I exercise so that I can eat “everything in moderation”. Except for the chocolate. I’m not very good at chocolate in moderation, so I have to keep moving and I need to find a new exercise routine. After unpacking countless boxes and finally having someone take away my old and ugly couch, I felt ready to dig in.

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The Southtowns YMCA called out. Knowledgeable, diverse, and talented staff seamlessly helped me join, and gave me a tour. Smiles were everywhere, so I smiled eagerly.

The treadmills and indoor walking track upstairs appealed to me immediately, but as I walked past them I also saw members moving and swaying to the music. Nations.

The different types and levels of Zumba are a popular draw at the Y. The classes are mostly women, but some intrepid men also participate several times a week. Having extensive dance experience from my youth, I considered this option.

“Zumba Gold” first caught my eye. It’s designed for seniors – fun, but less intense. There is no jump in this modified Zumba class for active seniors that recreates the original movements at a lower intensity. perfect.

Coach Brandon warmly welcomed me into my first class. He led our hilariously eclectic group through 45 minutes of cha-chas and rumbas to a mix of Latin pop, old and current. I think I managed to keep up without embarrassing myself. It was a good workout and I left wanting for more.

Another instructor, Sarah, skillfully leads several Gold Classes over the course of the week as well. She uses different pitches and step combinations, and deftly keeps our minds and bodies engaged. Sarah encourages us to keep moving and not worry about perfection. I can do that.

A few weeks later, after toning up my limbs, ligaments, and brainpower, I gave Zumba a regular try. This class was led by a real dynamo, Melissa. She aggressively pushes the limits of movement, and that includes the dreaded jumping. But it’s so much fun and I secretly find a way to hop my way in.

The best fun ever is the truly amazing and inspiring people I met through Zumba. We’re in it together, and as long as you respect other people’s boundaries and lines of sight, all are welcome and no level of dance expertise is expected.

Most participants share their places in the gymnasium, and this is where they are in every class. However, finding your own space and dancing is easy.

Many have taken these classes for years and have formed friendships in and out of the Y. They collaborate on Christmas gifts for instructors and get well cards when the average person is sick. It’s a virtual Zumba Gold community, and I’m happy to accommodate.

Come on, dare us to shake your booty and join in the fun.

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