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Fitness instructors, trainers offer exciting ways to keep it moving

1/17/2014, 9:10 p.m.
Dwight Calhoun says line dancing also keeps the brain sharp.

While there are disagreements about which diet is best, no one ever argues about the need for exercise.

Whether it’s walking, dancing, squatting or jumping, there is consensus that a body in motion will stay in motion.

People who value their mobility can get lots of tips during the CrossRoadsNews 2014 Health & Wellness Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest on Jan. 25.

Throughout the noon-to-5 p.m. expo on the mall’s lower level, fitness instructors and personal trainers will demonstrate some of the fun ways to stay fit and healthy this year.

Lawanda Brokenborough will demonstrate Zumba, Dwight Calhoun will showcase line dancing for fun and fitness, and Jody Smith will show how to build your body from inside out.

In the face of growing childhood obesity, Elfreda Smith of Door to Door Fitness will show how to get kids off the couch and moving.

Brokenborough, who is known as the “fitness diva,” teaches 28 fitness classes a week. She says nearly half of them are Zumba, the high-energy workout that mixes Brazilian, Latin and African dancing.

“It’s a good way to distract you from exercising,” she said. “It’s dancing. It’s fun – it’s not boring like walking on a treadmill.”

Best of all, Brokenborough said that participants can control what they get out of Zumba by how much they put into it.

“It’s high-energy,” she said, “but you control the intensity.”

Calhoun has been teaching line dance to kids and adults for seven years at Spelman College, at Southwest Arts Center, and at AT&T corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

“Dancing is the purest form of exercise,” he said. “It’s simple and it’s something you can do by yourself or with a group. People love it because they can do it at family reunions, parties and all events.”

Besides making you use all of your body parts, Calhoun said line dancing also helps keep the brain sharp.

“You have to remember all the moves,” he said. “You have to keep up. It’s brain exercise.”

Jody Smith, whose clients range from 4 to 86 years, said strength training is important in any fitness regime to keep the muscles from deteriorating.

“We need to strengthen our bodies to move correctly,” he said.

When clients enter his program, Smith, who offers classes at Grady High School, Panthersville Stadium, and a gym in Buckhead, says he begins by building their heart and lungs.

“We start very light to see what type of shape you are in and go from there,” he said.

Even though his focus is on strengthening muscles, Smith, who lives in Lithonia, said he doesn’t use weights.

Instead, he emphasizes modified jumps, push-ups, squats and step training.

“Walking up and down stairs is the best workout,” he said.

Elfreda Smith, no relation to Jody Smith, has turned her focus to supporting first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign that is fighting childhood obesity.

“I am concerned about the children,” said Smith, who lives in Decatur. “For the first time in our lives, we are going to outlive our children.”

Over the Christmas holidays when her grandchildren – 4 to 13 years old – visited, Smith said all they wanted to know was where the electric outlets were.

“They wanted to plug in their tablets,” she said. “They didn’t want to go outside or do anything else.”

She knows her grandchildren are typical, and she is now on a mission to get kids moving, whether it is with a hula hoop, jump rope, cheerleading or in soccer and football.

Fitness demos

12:30 p.m. Jody Smith, the Super Trainer

1:45 p.m. Door to Door Fitness Youth Demo

2:45 p.m. Lawanda Brokenborough Zumba Crew

3 p.m. Urban Line Dancing for Fun & Fitness