IT IS OFTEN difficult to find the right balance when it comes to exercise. So if you are looking for a way to get fit, then why not spice things up and jump on the Zumba band-wagon.
Fitness classes are seen not just to lose weight and to improve fitness levels, but a chance to socialise with friends and even meet new people. Along with Spinning Classes, Boxercise and Circuit Training, which are on the rise in the fitness industry, there will always be a place for Zumba.
Zumba has been the top of every fitness fan’s list since it was founded in 2001. The average person will burn around 600 to 1,000 calories in a Zumba class, and it is a wonderful way to lose weight, tone your body and have fun while doing it!
Walking into the Morlan Centre Hall in Aberystwyth and seeing a group of people ready to dance the hour away certainly increases motivation. As a Zumba fanatic, the movements in Karen Prior’s class are a case of when you start, you really don’t want to stop.
It gets better when taking part in Karen’s class produces a feeling of appearing in dance videos, especially to her playlist featuring the likes of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Candy Man’ and The Pussycat Dolls’ ‘Jai Ho’.
After the class, The Herald was fortunate to speak to regular members of Karen’s class, including Trish Huws, of Talybont who said: “I love it, it’s fantastic. Karen is a good teacher but also, the class is a sociable thing as there is a coffee culture as well. Most of us go for a coffee after the class, that’s what I mean by sociable so I’ve got to know people that I would never have known before.”
Anne England, another regular member of the Zumba class told the Herald: “I’ve been coming to the class for four years, at least, with little gaps in between. The class is fantastic and sets us off for the weekend. It’s not just good music, but it’s the sheer enthusiasm of Karen doing it. We do feel better for moving and the class has got atmosphere.
“I’ve been to other Zumba’s and I only come to Karen’s because I like her style. I’m retired so I’m able to come on Fridays, the routines look like they don’t have a lot in them to begin with but we follow the whole range of body movements I think.
“Our walking group started from Karen’s class because we all came thought let’s all go for a walk together. We’ve made a friendship of over probably five years now as a result of exercise. I find, personally, that exercise is better in the morning even though I’m not working.
“It gets your mind going and open up everything, a bit of movement then it has to be followed by coffee.”
Zumba Instructor Karen Prior, who has lived in Aberystwyth for 25 years, kindly spared some of her time after the class to tell The Herald about herself, the Zumba classes and her other fitness commitments:
“We have younger people coming on a Thursday so the class caters for everyone and you do it to your own level. The class is a very welcoming class and with the coffee social afterwards, it’s not a case where if your face doesn’t fit you’re not invited or even if you have a lot of things on they’re not offended but it’s very casual in who can go.
“One of our class members is 91 years old and is such an inspiration for all the other ladies because sometimes people come in and they don’t think they’ll be able to manage the class and she’ll say; of course you can! Everyone is different but she’s one of a kind.
“I started Zumba here at the Morlan Centre five years in October. Before that, I ran a gym and then I started Zumba from there. Then when we closed the gym, I found this location [Morlan Centre] which was great because I was a town centre gym so I wanted a town centre location and it’s got the parking and it’s a really nice facility.
“We have a class on Thursday nights at 5.45pm which is great but the attendance is better in the mornings [Friday 9.30am] due to the time being after work which is understandable.
“It’s quite a challenge for me because I’m a personal trainer by trade, and then I was running the gym and our membership was hit badly by the recession and at that point Zumba was such a big craze so we thought maybe we’ll get non-members in just for classes so that’s how I started.
“I went to Edinburgh to do my course and I thought I’d come back and then I’d know just how to run a class. You get taught all the steps but then you go home choreograph the steps yourself, you do your own dances.
“I came back to Aberystwyth and thought; the only time I’ve ever choreographed a dance was a Whitney Houston track when I was about eightyears- old in primary school. I was not a confident person at all and really doubted myself, and to me fitness is very much about counting and Zumba isn’t so it was a massive thing.
“I remember my mum asking when I was going to start but then I said to her; I’ve got to put these 10 dances together!
“My first dance was The Black Eyed Peas song ‘The Time (Dirty Bit)’ and I did it over and over and over again. I thought one day, do I do one song and move on to another? Or do I just hear a song and start doing that one and my brain was totally frazzled.
“One day, my mum and two younger brothers came into the gym and while it was quite I asked them to copy my dances with me and while they were going opposite ways I thought: if I can do it in front of them then I can do it. So I got 7 songs put together and asked the new class which ones to go over as it was new to them all and that’s how I built it up.
“In the early days, sometimes I would just stand there when the songs started and thought: I can’t remember it, my mind didn’t know what was going on.
“That was because I was trying to learn so much at once, but now if I get a new song I’ve only got to remember that one because the rest are all just there, If you have put it together then it’s easier, but if I copy someone else I find it hard and I’m all over the place. Also, if I come in halfway through a song,
“I would find it hard as I have to be there at the beginning to get the first step. Once you get the first step, you are alright. I wasn’t brought up as a dancer, like a lot of instructors come from a dance background and have always been dancing whereas I’m more exercised based so I keep my dances simple and repetitive so people will know the parts well and get into it quicker.”
“I’m lucky because, obviously with the gym people have followed me for 10 years so I’ve got a good core base of people coming and that sort of thing. Teaching Zumba is part time for me, we run a wellness centre for HerbaLife so I teach exercise alongside that and run a charity FitClub on a Tuesday evening.
“There’s me and two other instructors involved and what we’ve done is combined our qualifications and expertise and we run it from the Morlan.
“It’s very different, it’s like a hit training session so more of a circuit boot camp and basically we don’t draw any money, all we do is pay for the hall and the rest goes to a local charity.
“We’ve been going for over 10 weeks, and what we’ve done is we’ve put a poll in after the first couple of weeks and allowed the participants to choose which local charities they wanted to support. This time we’ve chosen Women’s Aid, and we’re up to about £200 that we’ve raised for them.
“We change every quarter so we’re about to choose another charity so again, it’s got to go to a vote, but what we’re really hoping to do is put a defibrillator on the Prom. The nearest one is in the 24 hour Spar which is quite a long way when you think of the beach, the sea and the Promenade.
“So if the money is raised for that, then the name gets put on it so we thought it would be cool to have FitClub Aber’s name on the defibrillator machine. Plus it’s something I think would be needed.”
All are welcome to join Karen’s Zumba class every Thursday (5:45pm-6:30pm) and Friday (9:30am-10:15am) at the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth. Price is £3.80 per session.
FitClub is held at the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth every Tuesday (6pm-7pm).
Lecture considers the future of war
INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).
Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.
In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.
He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?
Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”
The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.
Youth Service invited to international training event
TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.
‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.
Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education, said: “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.
“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!”
Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.
Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said: “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”
Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker added: “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”
Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”
Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds
ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.
Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.
Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.
CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.
Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.
On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.
Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.
The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.
Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.
Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.
Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.
Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.
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