For anyone that still doubts the benefits of vigorous exercise, good nutrition and a positive attitude, then consider observing a Jazzercise class taught by Juli Huddleston.
Huddleston recently celebrated her business' 20th anniversary, leading a gala burlesque-style workout party for dozens of members, some of whom have been taking her classes since Dexter Jazzercise opened its doors in the village.
"It's been a great experience being in Dexter," Huddleston said. "We're having a lot of fun."
Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and kickboxing. People can burn up to 600 calories in one 60-minute class, which Huddleston said appeals to both men and women.
"Your exercising, but it's not like going to a gym and working out by yourself. We work as a class, and everyone encourages each other," she said.
Huddleston received her certification as a Jazzercise instructor in North Carolina in the 1980s after learning about the program from a friend in Georgia. Upon moving back to Michigan, Huddleston took her new found love of the program further, offering classes in Waterford and Novi before opening her studio in Dexter in 1993.
"The best part of teaching Jazzercise for so many years is meeting all the wonderful customers and helping them to reach their health and fitness goals and to help people connect to others," she said. "I also love watching people that haven't exercised in a long time, say they don't like exercising, or think they're too uncoordinated for a program like ours fall in love with Jazzercise."
Since opening Dexter Jazzercise, Huddleston said there has been a steady stream of clients ranging in age from teenagers in high school to senior citizens.
"I have ladies that have been with me for 10 years or more. Twenty women have been with me for over 15 years, and we've been growing every year," she said.
Huddleston credits the popularity of the program to its flexible scheduling.
"We offer 24 classes a week, so we really cater to people from all walks of life," she said.
The studio even offers a free babysitting service for clients attending the 9:15 a.m. class. three times a week.
Louise Reed of Pinckney has been attending classes for 10 years, and said she enjoys learning the different dance routines.
"It's a nice variety of aerobic and weight training," she said. "I like coming to the 4:30 p.m. class because I can come straight from work. You get a good workout, and everyone is very friendly."
Geanne Neuhoff has attended classes for 18 years and said she tries to workout five times a week.
"I really enjoy the flexibility, and for the price, you can't beat it," she said.
Candy Burns of Dexter said several members have become good friends over the years, often celebrating milestones and special events together.
"The friendships and camaraderie are what keep me coming back," Burns said. "It's loads of fun, and even if you don't catch onto the dance patterns right away, it doesn't matter; everyone has their moments."
Huddleston said working in Dexter has been a fun experience.
"It's a great community. The people are friendly and welcoming. You see a lot of people encouraging each other to stay fit and active," she said.
To celebrate the new year, Dexter Jazzercise will offer new members free registration with a 12-month membership through Jan. 8. New members can also sign up for 10 classes for $89 through Jan. 8.
For more information on Jazzercise classes, and a complete schedule, visit the Jazzercise Dexter Fitness Center website.