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).
Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect
DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.
The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.
Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.
He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.
Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.
“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.
“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”
The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.
If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.
To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
David Davies Llandinam show comes to Tregaron
THERE will be a special opportunity for the people of Tregaron to learn about one of Wales’ most successful industrialists, David Davies Llandinam with a performance by the drama company “Mewn Cymeriad”.
To celebrate David Davies’ link with the area, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Cymdeithas Hanes Tregaron and Clwb Plant Capel Bwlchgwynt have organised a performance of the family friendly show “David Davies Llandinam”.
David Davies was born in Llandinam, Montgomeryshire but he had an influence across Wales. He built railways across the country including the Manchester and Milford Railway that connected Tregaron with Aberystwyth and Carmarthen by using a huge amount of Cardiganshire wool to lay the rails across Cors Caron.
In addition to being an astoundingly successful entrepreneur, David Davies Llandinam was the MP for Cardiganshire between 1874 and 1886. Nine years previously, he stood against one of Tregaron’s hero, Henry Richard to be the local Liberal Party candidate for the 1865 Election.
Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Culture, “The history of David Davies Llandinam is very interesting. It’s wonderful to see organisations coming together to put on this show in Tregaron and Mewn Cymeriad following this character’s fascinating story.”
Mewn Cymeriad is a drama company that travels across Wales to present one actor shows full of fun and excitement to children about historic characters such as Barti Ddu, the Lord Rhys, Hedd Wyn and Owain Glyndŵr. The David Davies show was written by Mewn Cymeriad’s founder Eleri Twynog Davies and the show is performed by the actor Ioan Hefin who has starred in programmes such as Hidden, Gwaith Cartref and Teulu.
The free show of David Davies Llandinam will be shown at Bwlchgwynt Vestry, Tregaron on Monday, 29 October at 7pm. Come to see the actor Ioan Hefin present a lively and interactive show about the man who brought the train to Tregaron. It is an interactive show that is aimed towards children aged 6 to 11 however it is suitable for the whole family.
For further Information, contact Steffan Rees, Cered’s Community Development Officer on 01545 572 350.
Visit to inspect new Active Travel works held
SUSTRANS CYMRU director, Steve Brooks visited recent work to the Aberystwyth Active Travel Network on 26 September. The network of pedestrian, cycling and general accessibility improvements has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and Sustrans.
Mr Brooks met with Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services and the Council’s Sustainability Champion, as well as Council Officers. During the visit they discussed the work carried out so far and future work to improve the Active Travel Network in Ceredigion.
Councillor Williams praised the work undertaken to date, “It was a pleasure to meet with Sustrans colleagues and County Council officers. The excellent work that the County Council has done so far in Aberystwyth was showcased, with the aim of encouraging children to cycle, scoot and walk to school. The improvements do of course benefit everyone in the community by helping to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles whilst reducing traffic congestion and we had a useful discussion about further developing active travel initiatives across the whole of Ceredigion.”
Three towns in Ceredigion have been designated as Active Travel Settlements under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. The Council carried out a public consultation during 2017 to identify and prioritise future improvements. As a result, walking and cycling routes are being improved incrementally through various Welsh Government grants as funding permits and subject to physical constraint.
Steve Brooks said, “Plascrug Primary is one of many schools in Ceredigion where Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme is delivered and it’s great to see the positive difference made at these locations, in conjunction with improved routes and new scooter and cycle shelters installed by the County Council following successful grant funding from the Welsh Government. The Programme includes classroom activities where pupils can help influence future grant bids and also embraces a range of engaging activities which helps to build the confidence, enthusiasm and skills needed to help form new active travel habits. These activities and lessons support schools’ efforts in achieving Eco-Schools and Healthy Schools awards as well as working towards Sustrans School Mark award which recognises excellence in sustainable travel.”
The Council is also improving active travel opportunities outside these three settlements, such as near schools, employment sites and key tourism destinations.
Image: Left to Right: Sioned Lewis, Sustrans Cymru; Plascrug Primary School Pupils; Councillor Alun Williams; Steve Brooks, Sustrans Cymru; Gari Jones, Ceredigion County Council.
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