If you went inside the Old Navy store in College Point Saturday afternoon, you might have noticed a bunch of people who were breaking a sweat by dancing.
A fitness trainer turned a part of the store into an open Zumba fitness class to help promote a healthy lifestyle in celebration of Women’s Fitness Month. Customers and employees sometimes joined into the kinetic workouts.
Zumba is a high-energy workout routine that turns dancing into exercise. Music is played and the participants follow the instructor’s choreography. It is a Latin dance-inspired fitness program that involves both dance and aerobic moves.
The trainer who led the workout, Nicole “Fit is Fun” Daley, wasn’t always in shape herself. Over 200 pounds at one point due to a sedentary lifestyle brought on by her desk job, her life changed when she started taking Zumba classes two years ago. The sessions helped her lose weight and at the recommendation of her trainer, she eventually got her certification to teach classes.
“Zumba was a hit because it combines fitness and dance,” Daley said. “While you’re moving around and dancing, you’re not even realizing you’re burning calories.”
Daley said she earned her nickname because of her goal to make the workouts not seem trite.
“The whole theme is having fun,” she said. “I don’t believe in having a boring workout. That’s when you don’t want to work out anymore.”
Obesity is a rising problem, and women are not immune. The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 said the percentage of overweight women in the U.S. was 64.1 percent.
Daley stressed how important it is for women to keep in shape and to be able to move around.
“They are in the workforce now,” she said. “It’s not like years and years ago where they were stay-at-home-moms. It’s so important to get moving and to have them have that ‘me’ time, which often comes in the form of having a fitness class.”
Daley was also working with Femcho, a group that provides life advice to young girls.
“We talk to the girls about making healthy choices, about being a good friend and what all that encompasses,” she said. “That is important because all those girls grow up to be women.”
Joan Staggs from Bayside, one of Daley’s clients, has had nothing but praise for her workout routine. Staggs said in the last four months she has lost 42 pounds.
Before she took Zumba classes, Staggs was not a fan of exercising. “I hated exercise. I would get on the treadmill for 30 minutes and hated it,” she said.
Staggs said anyone of any age or fitness level can join in and reap the benefits of a more active workout. “Anyone can do it,” she said. “It’s great for your health and great for your stamina.”