Line dancing offers participants fun, health benefits

All in a line — Jerry Aasen, Nancy Aasen, Cindy Newman, Jean Anderson and Julie East, left to right, are among those getting fun and health benefits from line dancing.

Photo by Marisa Shadrick

All in a line — Jerry Aasen, Nancy Aasen, Cindy Newman, Jean Anderson and Julie East, left to right, are among those getting fun and health benefits from line dancing.

Music and dance have been part of our American culture for decades. Since the 50’s, television has kept our toes tapping with shows like American Bandstand with Dick Clark to, the more recent, Dancing with the Stars hosted by Tom Bergeron.

This last season, fans watched celebrity Kirstie Alley, 60, finish 2nd and melt away 38 inches. Not bad for a senior. Dance, however, isn’t just for Hollywood celebrities. Shasta County residents have proven to be ready for the dance challenge with an increased interest in line dancing.

“If you can walk, you can line dance,” says instructor Cindy Newman.

Cindy and her partner, Chris Griffith, lead a beginner and easy intermediate class on Thursdays at the Frontier Senior Center in Anderson. These free classes are in addition to the existing Tuesday class offered at the center. The demand and health awareness of line dancing is increasing and participants are enjoying the results.

According to Cindy, “Two hours of line dancing equals 2-3 miles of walking.”

Before 2010, Cindy had never danced publicly, but she wanted to reintroduce line dancing to her mother, Jean Anderson. Cindy excelled rapidly and made acquaintance with Chris Griffith at a dance class. The two teamed up and they now teach 6-8 classes each week in Anderson, Red Bluff and Redding.

Cindy’s mother, Jean, has no problem keeping up with her daughter. This active 80-year-old woman attends multiple classes in Redding and Anderson.

Jerry and Nancy Aasen have found line dancing to be their choice for better health. Nancy enjoys the socialization while Jerry benefits from the physical and mental coordination.

By memorizing dance steps they engage in a mind-body workout.

The American Association of Retired Persons states, “Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that encourage nerve cells to grow.”

For Julie East it was a way to regain her strength after completing Chemotherapy. She was weak and needed to improve her cardio health. In just a few months she regained about 50 percent of her stamina.

The benefits have been significant, so Julie continues to commute from Palo Cedro to attend various community dance classes.

Debra Helm has line danced for four years and has lost 35 pounds.

The Center for Disease Control considers line dancing to be a moderate, low-impact activity. Perhaps that explains why it’s a growing worldwide dance that attracts every age and gender.

You don’t need a partner and you’re always in a climate-controlled room which makes this a year-round alternative. Although the basic steps are easy, intensity can vary depending on the choreography and speed of the music.

It’s best to consult your doctor before beginning any fitness class.

So, we’re not all celebrities but how about a star? You can become a shining example of a vivacious community bound for a healthier life.

For more information about classes and activities at the Frontier Senior Center pick up a newsletter or contact Manager, Janie McLaughlin at 365-3254. Or, to learn more about the health benefits of line dancing, instructor Cindy Newman recommends

Marisa Shadrick is a nonfiction freelance writer whose articles appear in local, online and international publications. She is hands-on about health management and enjoys encouraging individuals through her writing and public speaking.

To share comments or health tips send email to

© 2011 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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