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Dance your way to better health

By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Eleven months ago, Lisa Berrios was on medications for both diabetes and high blood pressure.
Her weight had topped at 287 pounds, and as a nurse at the VA hospital in Gainesville, she knew something had to give soon.
Because in addition to the physical complications that accompany obesity, the usually upbeat Lisa found herself combatting depression,
“Let’s go to Zumba,” someone recommended.
It was the beginning of a new life for her–one that is healthy and fun.
The Zumba sessions were in Gainesville, and while that’s where she works, she thought there should be classes closer to her Bronson home.
That’s when she approached the Levy County Health Department, who partnered with her for several weeks to jumpstart the healthy choice.
Now a certified trainer, she gathered a small group in the Williston Community Center for about five months.
But as word traveled about the fast-paced dance workout, the need for more leg room was needed.
Lisa went to her priest at Holy Family Catholic Church, explained the need and without a blink, he agreed she could conduct the Zumba classes in the parish hall.
Now more than 80 people–men, women, young and old–gather once, twice or three times each week to get the toughest, but most fun, workout of their lives.
Originating in Colombia, Zumba centers around the music, all with specific beats and tempo changes, that transitions the workout from one toning, strengthening or cardio move to another, and targets every major muscle group in the body.
“It’s no more than two or three steps,” Lisa said. “Any more than that and it is too complicated and people can’t or won’t do it.”
Each session lasts one hour, and there are no age or physical restrictions on its participants.
“I have people in my classes who have had knee and hip replacements,” she said.
A typical one-hour workout can burn about 1,000 calories, she said.
She is living proof of its benefits.
In the past 11 months, her diabetes and blood pressure are under control and she has dropped 100 pounds simply through the dance program.
“And I am so happy,” she said. “I know when you do things from the heart, it all comes together. God is good.”
Holy Family Catholic Church is located 17353 NE Hwy. 27A, Williston.
Classes are free, but a $1 donation is welcomed to keep the party going.
Learn more at http://www.holyfamilywellness.co.cc/