Meet our Fantastic Fitness Instructors : Natalie Smith
By : Meredith Butler
Natalie has been with the Newark Senior Center for 24 years, 16 as a food service director before she became our Jazzercise instructor in 2000. Although Natalie has been here for a long time she has not always been the fitness fanatic she is now. As a young adult she enjoyed ballet, dancing and jazzercise however when she got more involved in her career and family she started living a more sedentary lifestyle. After quitting smoking Natalie gained 70lbs which made her realize she wanted to change her lifestyle; jazzercise became the outlet Natalie needed to get her health back.
Before meeting Natalie I was unsure of what Jazzercise really was. Natalie explained to me that Jazzercise is one of the oldest fitness programs around yet still effective. It was originally started in 1969 and has been around for 48 years. Jazzercise was created by a professional dancer named Judi Sheppard Missett. It’s not just dancing as many people may assume. “Jazzercise has a format of two-thirds cardio. I have about fifteen routines, first one is warm-ups and then we do nine cardio and four strength routines. The end routine is stretching with a strength component as well”. Jazzercise has a component for everyone built into the class including fun music!
Natalie also wanted to point out that the Jazzercise class she teaches at the Newark Senior Center is accommodating to people of all skill levels. There are modifications for every move of the class and Natalie makes sure to tell participants the right way to perform moves to avoid injuries. When I was able to take one of Natalie’s classes I appreciated how she didn’t assume every person in the class knew the correct way to do a squat. Natalie made sure to encourage seniors to protect prone injury areas such as the back “Keep your abs pulled in to protect your back put hands on thighs for support for back”. Another important safety factor Natalie includes in her class is to keep your weight on your heels and push back your bottom. It is important not to put weight on the knees which are injury prone for many seniors.
Another aspect of Natalie’s fitness class I enjoyed was the energy she brought to her class. The morning I took the Jazzercise class I felt groggy but by the end I felt refreshed and lively. Besides the physical aspect of the class Natalie’s spirit and engagement caused a great deal of this new feeling. She was very interactive and even sang along with songs making jokes and adding comments about what the song playing reminded her of. A participant in her class agreed with my view and said “Natalie is an inspiration and fun”. All the seniors attending Natalie’s Jazzercise class can attest to what a great exercise setting she makes for the seniors at the Newark Senior Center.
Try a Jazzercise class by Natalie! Purchase a workout ticket or fitness class pass from the reception desk & attend a class that is convenient for you. If you are unsure of which class you will like, you may try one class for free!
Jazzercise Lite Class Times:
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday : 8:45am
- Tuesday, Thursday : 5:40pm
Payment Options :
- Workout Tickets = a package of classes. They do not expire.
- $20 Blue Ticket ($30 for non-members) = 4 classes
- $50 Yellow Ticket ($60 for non-members) = 12 classes
- Fitness Class Pass = Unlimited Exercises classes for the 30 days before your pass expires.
- $45 ($55 for non-members)