Today my mother turned 83. Eighty-three! I recognize that might sound ‘old’ to a lot of people, but old does not describe my mother.
Okay, so she does have grey hair (and hates it!), but that’s about the only clue you’d have that she’s a senior citizen.
You see, my mother teaches step aerobics three times a week . . . and I’m not talking for Seniors. Her classes are Kick-Your-Butt fast. Definitely not for the older set.
Here’s a little article I wrote five years ago for the local newspaper:
Marching to Her Own Beat, Instructor Encourages Health for Older Women
Placerville Parks & Rec instructor, Jeannie Jorgensen teaches Weights & Stretch Thursdays at 6 p.m. Based upon Miriam Nelson’s bestseller, Strong Women Stay Young, Jorgensen developed the class for students to improve energy balance and flexibility and reverse bone loss.
It’s the latest offering by the veteran instructor who has put her own stamp on classes for the past 22 years. Many have taken classes over the years from the upbeat teacher, but few know her history and what makes her classes special.
Prior to teaching aerobics, Jorgensen’s only exercise was carting her five kids all over the county for sports and cheerleading. Left with an empty next after her youngest graduation from Ponderosa High School in 1975, Jorgensen tried a Jazzercise class at age 50. She hadn’t exercised since she was a ballerina, before she was married, and she found the music and movements exhilarating. She couldn’t get enough.
At that time, jazzercisers exercised barefoot on the concrete floor at the Fairgrounds. Injuries followed and temporarily tabled Jorgensen’s newfound love.
Undaunted by the injuries, instead maybe inspired, Jorgensen researched safe exercises. She choreographed her own routines geared for people with weak backs, bad knees and other physical limitations. She began offering a ‘toned-down’ class – Jazzed Fitness – at Parks & Rec.
When step aerobics were initially created in the ‘80’s to help strengthen weak knees, Jorgensen added bench steps to her repertoire. Her drive to create safe movements to music has often been validated by doctors and chiropractors who refer students to her classes.
Her many years of physical fitness paid personal dividends beyond a fit and trim body. In 1998, when she tripped and broke both wrists, her orthopedist detected no osteoporosis. In fact, as a testament to her physical fitness and passion to teach, Jorgensen was back teaching less than 2-1/2 months after two surgeries, at age 70.
Now, at an age when most of her contemporaries have slowed down, Jorgensen continues to inspire students with her own beat with Step Aerobics, an hour long cardio workout.
Did you catch the part where she STARTED at age 50? I distinctly remember because I thought she had done lost her fool mind.
Nope. Anything but. And while she may be on a brief hiatus right now while she undergoes chemo, she’ll be back. And, lemme tell you, when your fitness instructor is in her 80’s, any little aches and pains you might have seem to fade by comparison.
Today, Mom and I are hanging out together, not doing anything exciting, but just Be-ing. She’s recuperating from her latest chemo treatment, and I’m recovering from substituting her aerobics classes. (I whine a lot .)
So, Happy Birthday, Mom. You’re an inspiration, not just to me, but to hundreds and hundreds of other people – just by doing what you love and being You!