Meet Donna Wasserman and the self-proclaimed "Y Ladies" (and some male participants, too) who meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at the Towson
for cardio dancing. The class, divided into eight-week sessions, matches choreographed routines with a wide variety of music — Irish, country, hip-hop, big band, classical, R&B and more — for a low- or high-impact workout. Cardio dancing has been offered by the YMCA for more than 30 years, and some of the regulars have been jumping and twirling together for just as long, dancing their way through hip and shoulder replacements, marriages and remarriages, and the losses of loved ones.
A little history:
The cardio dancing craze peaked in the 1970s with the Towson YMCA offering classes daily, every hour on the hour. Cardio dancing a spin-off of the once wildly popular Jazzercise.
Who's in the group now:
The class is made up of women and men between the ages of 30 and 70 at all fitness levels. The choreography is adaptable for those with injuries or other disabilities.
Why it's a workout:
The hourlong class burns approximately 400 calories per session. For older participants, added benefits include working on agility and increasing bone density.
Why they do it:
"Sometimes the only constant has been my family and the 'Y Ladies,' " said Maggie Lears. The almost 50 members of the group meet outside the gym, too. On Fridays, they get bagels at a local
, and once a year they join Lillian Freudenberger for her Christmas soiree. When a regular does not show up for a class, he or she is flooded with concerned emails and phone calls from other members.