Virtual Zumba keeps seniors active and connected
Terry Hudgens credits online Zumba Toning in aiding in her recovery from cancer surgery.
by Connie McDougall
Who put the Zoom in Zumba?
Find out by trying the now-online dance class that’s helping to keep seniors connected and engaged.
Zumba exercise classes at the Greenwood Senior Center have been a popular staple over the years, offering both a 30-minute toning session followed by an hour of aerobic dance three days a week.
“My last class teaching at the center was March 9th,” says Zumba instructor, Penny Fuller, who at 78 remains an energetic teacher.
Undaunted, Penny learned how to hold classes online via the video-conferencing app, Zoom, and she’s been teaching from her Magnolia condo ever since. “I’m thrilled to be able to do this,” she says. And so is one of her longtime students, Terry Hudgens, now recovering from an arduous year of treatments for breast cancer.
As an effect of surgery that included the removal of lymph nodes, her right arm was swollen and painful. “But when my physical therapist gave me the green light to start Penny’s toning class, there was a marked improvement in mobility, less pain and my arm returned to normal size,” she says. “I’m done with PT thanks to Penny’s class.”
There are other inspiring outcomes from students. One has lost 16 pounds and another brought her blood pressure under control. “People send me these little notes about how the class has helped them and it’s so gratifying,” Penny says.
Even so, she’s had to make adjustments to her usual Zumba routine.
She doesn’t have as much room to move as she did at the center, and because there’s music, she can’t talk to those watching. “I’ve had to get a lot better at cueing for steps and posture.”
In some ways though, Penny thinks this has made her a better teacher. “I’m not as distracted as I could be with in-person classes, but I do miss the energy and our after-class coffee hour.”
There is still a virtual coffee break after class that brings in people as far away as Texas, Arizona, California, even Mexico.
“I encourage people to give it a try,” says Penny. “You’ll feel great after!”
Learn more about how the Greenwood Senior Center is keeping seniors active with virtual classes at our virtual “Power of Community: Alone Together” event on October 15, 12-1 pm. In its ninth year, the Power of Community celebrates and raises funds for PNA’s senior programs.