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Exercise is good for you, but it can be fun, too.
By D Magazine |

What with all the ice storms and general messiness of this winter’s weather, you’ve probably slackened a little on your resolutions about jogging and tennis and so on. So as you look through the pages of The Dallas Look and try to imagine yourself clad in something dazzlingly revealing, you’re probably conscious of having more to reveal than you’d like.

Time, then, to shape up. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the best ways to abetter shape.


Whether you’re talking to a karate expert or a prima ballerina, the word is posture. Even an obese woman can improve her appearance dramatically by standing and sitting up straight.

Good posture facilitates blood flow and prevents pinched nerves. Poor posture may result in chronic back problems and curvature of the spine.

The old trick of placing a book on top of the head is a valid check for body alignment. Be aware of how your body feels as you move. Notice your reflection in store windows. Hold your stomach in and you’ve already lost an inch from your waist.

Louise Williams, who has been instructing exercise classes in the Park Cities for 30 years, gives a few suggestions:

“Remember, you grow into the way you use your body most of the time. Most people favor their right side. I have my students overcompensate by exaggerating use of their left sides. Try it. It will help to return your body to its original symmetry.

“As a child speaking before a class you probably stooped forward, plastered your arms to your sides and locked your eyes to the floor. Well, you can relax now. Hold your head up and your stomach in. Let your arms hang loose. Practice standing pretty.”

Veteran ballet instructor Denise Brown suggests women imagine a vertical rod through their bodies. “Pretend you’re a horse on the merry-go-round. Don’t bend the rod, don’t yield to the slump.”

And don’t head for the corny dogs once the ride’s over.


Dance is ideal for the hopeless romantic or the pragmatist who draws the line at weight machines. It’s an enchanting blend of inspired music, pointed toes, and exalted French commands. Dance is also a no-nonsense workout, the ultimate in discipline. It’s terrific for your cardio-vascular system. A basic workout uses more muscles than jogging, and it doesn’t necessarily mean “football calves” for women, dance instructor Denise Brown says.

“Bulging muscles are a result of improper stretching. For years we did not stretch our calves with the same vigor that we contracted them. That’s why you see some overdeveloped calves. But none of my girls have bulging legs.”

So much for that excuse. Classes are offered throughout Dallas in both private studios and city programs. Here’s a sampling of classes in ballet, belly dancing, disco, jazz, tap, and square dancing.


1. Academy of Dance, 120 Rayflex(Richardson). Beginning adult classes offered on a continuous basis. Evenings.$13 month for 1 class weekly. 231-6384.

2. Central YWCA, 4621 Ross Ave. Adultballet classes meet twice weekly beginningin April. About $15 for Y members.827-5600.

3. Contemporary Dance Theatre, 8220Westchester (Preston Center). Introductory ballet for adults offered. Evenings.$22 for 8 classes. 691-0826.

4. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 RoyalLn. Adult ballet offered weekly. Days.Free. 361-8010.

5. Denise Brown School of Dance, 5936Sherry Ln. Beginning adult classes offered three times weekly. Intermediateadult classes offered twice weekly. Classeson a continuous basis. $14 month for 1class weekly. 368-5250.

6. Irving YWCA, (North branch) 3600 W.Northgate, (South branch) 2232 W. FifthSt. Adult ballet instruction offered atboth branches for 14 weeks. Evenings.$28 for Y members. 252-8683, 254-4105.

7. South Dallas Academy, 3318 Hatcher. Adult ballet I, II offered weekly. Evenings. $16 month for 1 class weekly plus $10 registration fee per family. 421-5095.

8. Talent Workshop, Farmers Branch Shopping Center. Beginning adult classes offered weekly. Evenings. $13 month for 1 class weekly. 247-9996.


1. Oak Cliff YWCA, 1811 S Hampton Rd. Beginning intermediate, and advanced classes offered. Evenings. $12 Y members. 4 week session. 339-5181.

2. Belly Dancing by Meara, 5621 Alpha Rd. Beginning adult belly dancing I, II offered. Intermediate belly dancing offered also. Basic leotards and tights acceptable. 7 one-hour lessons for $25.50. 661-3734.

3. Irving YWCA, 3600 W Northgate. Beginning instruction offered. Evenings. $12 Y members for 6 week course.252-8683.


1. Contemporary Dance Theatre, 8220 Westchester (Preston Center). Evening instruction offered twice weekly. $22 for 8 classes. 691-0826.

2. Fretz Park Recreation Center, 14700 Hillcrest Blvd. Evenings. $5 for 7 one-hour lessons. 233-8921.

3. Garland YWCA, 3821 Broadway. Classes beginning mid-March. 271-4681.

4. Irving YWCA, 3600 W Northgate. 4 week sessions offered. Evenings. $8 for Ymembers. 252-8683.

5. Oak Cliff YWCA, 1811 S Hampton Rd. 6 week sessions offered. Evenings. $17 for Y members. 339-5181.

6. Reverchon Park Recreation Center,3505 Maple Ave. Weekly classes offeredevery month. Evenings. $10 month. 521-2690.

7. Richardson YWCA, 515 Custer Rd. 6lessons offered. Evenings. $12 for Ymembers. 231-7201.

8. Toby’s School of Dance, 401 LakeRidge Village (Lake Highlands), 224 Campbell Rd Village (Richardson).Classes offered through April at bothstudios. Evenings. Possible classes beginning late April depending on enrollment.$24. 341-2819, 235-0514.


1. Academy of Dance, 120 Rayflex (Richardson). Beginning through advanced classes offered. Evenings. $13month for I lesson weekly plus $7 enrollment fee. 231-6384.

2. Contemporary Dance Theatre, 8220 Westchester (Preston Center). Beginningjazz instruction offered. Evenings. $22 for 8 classes. 691-0826.

3. Maria Morgan YWCA, 1800 BonnieView. Evening lessons offered on a continuous basis. $10 for 4 lessons. 943-5373.

4. South Dallas Academy, 3318 Hatcher.Evening lessons offered. $16 month for 1class weekly plus $10 registration fee perfamily. 421-5095.

5. Talent Workshop, Farmers BranchShopping Center. Beginning through advanced classes offered. Evenings. $13month for 1 lesson weekly plus $7 enrollment fee. 247-9996.


1. Academy of Dance, 120 Rayflex(Richardson). Beginning through advanced classes offered. Evenings. $13month for 1 lesson weekly plus $7 enrollment fee. 231-6384.

2. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 RoyalLn. Beginning through advanced classesoffered. Evenings. Free. 361-8010.

3. Fretz Park Recreation Center, 14700Hillcrest. Basic tap steps offered. Evenings. 8 week course for $6. 233-8921.

4. SMU School of Continuing Education,SMU campus. 8 week course offered inearly March. Evenings. $40. 692-2339.

5. Talent Workshop, Farmers BranchShopping Center. Beginning through advanced classes offered. Evenings. $13month for 1 lesson weekly plus $7 enrollment fee. 247-9996.


1. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 Royal Ln. Square danceing group meets weekly for 2 1/2 hours. Evenings. Free. 361-8010.



The classic sit-up has gone the way of pillbox hats and circle pins. And whether its extinction is the result of physiological research or the drive for novelty, one thing is clear: exercise is in many Dallas classes an invigorating, cheerful experience. A peek into most Dallas classrooms reveals a new creative exuberance in exercise routines. The mindless jumping jack has been exchanged for graceful dance steps that require concentration and coordination. Stretching movements are often choreographed. In fact, most exercise classes are set to music.

If the new, rather glamorized regimen is not in itself an inducement, consider this: exercise classes are inexpensive, and in the case of most city recreation centers, free. More and more women are discovering their appeal.

A word about spas. Most health centers, like Nautilus, for instance, offer regularly scheduled exercise classes in addition to the weight lifting equipment, saunas, and steam rooms. For the working woman, or the woman with a varied schedule, spas may be the answer. Check your Yellow Pages for names and locations, and do shop around.

1. Central YWCA, 4621 Ross. Slimnasticsoffered beginning early April. Morningsand evenings. About $15 for Y members.827-5600.

2. Contemporary Dance Theatre, 8220Westchester (Preston Center). Stretch exercise classes offered. Mornings and evenings. Lunch exercise series M, W, F12-1. Call for fees. 691-0826.

3. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 RoyalLn. Slimnastics offered. Daily mornings,twice weekly in evenings. Free. 361-8010.

4. Fretz Park Recreation Center, 14700Hillcrest. Exercise classes offered mornings three times weekly. Slimnasticsclasses, incorporating yoga and dance, offered evenings three times weekly. Exercise with jogging classes offered M-Fevenings. Free. 233-8921.

5. Garland YWCA, 3821 Broadway. Aerobic exercises offered. New classes beginning mid-March. Meets twice weekly mornings and evenings. Slimnastics offered twice weekly evenings. $16 for Y members. 271-4681.

6. Oak Cliff Park Recreation Center,1229 Sabine. Body mechanics (basic exercises) offered. Evenings. Free. 946-7315.

7. Oak Cliff YWCA, 1811 S HamptonRd. Slimnastics offered. Three timesweekly mornings. S20. Twice weeklyevenings. $12 for Y members. 946-7315.

8. Park North YWCA, 4434 W NorthwestHwy. Slimnastics offered evenings. $14for 4 week course. Calisthenics offeredboth mornings and evenings. Call forfees. 357-6575.

9. Red Bird Park Recreation Center, 1808Ariel. Morning workouts offered daily.Free. 337-9573.

10. Reverchon Park Recreation Center,3505 Maple Ave. Slimnastics offeredtwice weekly noon, three times weeklyevenings. Free. 521-2690.

11. Richardson YWCA, 515 Custer Rd. Slimnastics offered mornings and evenings. $8 month. 231-7201.

12. SMU School for Continuing Education, SMU campus. Fashion Your Figure offered. Evenings. 8 week course for $40. 692-2339.


Once considered only a serious art form, dance is now commonly incorporated in exercise classes to provide a more enjoyable way to tone the body and relax the mind. A variety of dance movements (from ballet to jazz) are the basis for the classes listed below.

1. Aerobic Dancing Inc., various arealocations. New classes begin early April.Meets twice weekly. Days and evenings.$40 for 12 week sessions. 238-9806, NorthTexas area residents (817) 429-8560.

2. Central YWCA, 4621 Ross. Dancerciseclasses beginning early April. Evenings.About $15 for Y members. Discociseclasses, combining aerobic exercises to adisco beat, beginning early April. Daysand evenings. About $15 for Y members.827-5600.

3. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 RoyalLn. Aerobic-type dance classes offered. Evenings. New classes beginning mid-March. Free. 361-8010.

4. Garland YWCA, 3821 Broadway. Jazzexercise classes offered twice weekly.Evenings. About $15 for Y members.271-4681.

5. Irving YWCA, (North branch) 3600 WNorthgate, (South branch) 2232 W FifthSt. Aerobic Dance for Women. Beginningand advanced instruction offered at noonand evenings. 10 hour course. $20 for Ymembers. 252-8683, 254-4105.

6. Oak Cliff Park Recreation Center,1229 Sabine. Disco movement classescombining aerobic exercises to a discobeat offered. Evenings. Free. 946-7315.

7. Park North YWCA, 4434 W NorthwestHwy. Discocise classes combining aerobicexercises to a disco beat meets twice weekly. Evenings. 4 week course $16 for Ymembers. 357-6575.

8. Red Bird Park Recreation Center, 1808Ariel. Dance for Self Improvement. Newclasses beginning late March. Evenings.4-6 week course for $16. 337-9593.

9. Toby’s School of Dance, 224 CampbellRd Village (Richardson). Ballet exerciseclasses offered. Evenings. $15 month.235-0514.


Aerobic Dancing was founded 8 years ago by Jacki Sorenson after she read Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics and scored “excellent” on the 12-minute aerobic test. A former professional dancer, Jacki set out to design a dance program on aerobic principles. In the three-part session, the warm-up movements are set to slow rhythms that gently limber the body into more vigorous dance workouts. The dance steps she choreographed are simple and fast-paced, designed for sessions of 20 minutes. The final period is for cooling down and easing the body back to a normal heart rate of about 80 beats per minute. Everything is done to music. Jacki promises that “everybody loses inches.”

These dance steps can be combined in any fashion throughout the aerobic workout.

The Warm Up. To slow rhythms, such as Streisand’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore,” move in place for 5 or 6 counts of the music. Then begin a slow dance step, such as the Suzy-Q:

Stand with your feet together, clasping your hands with intertwined fingers, elbows held at mid-chest height. Cross your right foot over the left, turn your elbows and shoulders to the right and your hips to the left, twist your body as much as you can. Then bring your left foot back to a normal standing position. Do this eight times to the left side, then eight times to the right side.

The Motion. To a faster beat, music like Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” let loose by doing a combination of any dance steps you might remember from childhood lessons. Cheerleader routines are perfect, also. The purpose is to keep moving. Work out with the dance movements here:

Sunshine Jog: Jog in place starting with your hands held in loose fists; keep your elbows close to your sides. Then stretch your arms upward suddenly, opening your Fingers and looking upward.

Rock Lunges: Stand with feet together, then, keeping your back straight, step forward as far as possible with your right leg. Thrust your arms straight out in front of you as if pushing something with your palms. Bring your feel together and lunge again and again, rocking your body as much as possible without losing your balance.

Shine-the-Car Jog: Jog with hands open at chest level, and move the hands in wide circular wiping motions.

Cool Down. Put on the slow music again and let your body relax. Slow swimming and walking motions will do the job, as will the step, Exploding Fingers: With feet apart and arms stretched above your head, bend to your right as much as possible, keeping your back straight and spreading your fingers as much as possible. Then do the same to the left, rocking your hips slightly each time you bend.

For more information on classes held in and around Dallas, call Paula Stone, Area Coordinator, Aerobic Dancing, Inc. 807 Cavalier Plz, No. 798. Richardson, TX. 75080. 238-9806.


Joggers are fanatically sold on jogging. They’ll probably form their own nation one day. They speak knowledgeably of improved circulation, greater stamina, muscle tone, and mental clarity. Okay, we’re sold. So we asked Amy Jones, women’s director of the Aerobics Activity Center, to give us some do’s and don’ts for beginners. Read through these carefully if you’ve never jogged before. It’s the most strenuous fitness program we’ll mention. But it could be the program for you.


See your doctor first. No jogging program should begin without your physician’s consent. Plan on jogging at least three times a week. (A weekend jogger does herself more harm than good.) If you’ve never jogged before, you should be on a walking program for at least three weeks to condition the legs. That means walking a mile (at least three times a week) for three weeks. As your muscles become conditioned, you can speed up to a walk-jog (for two weeks), then finally to a jog.


Jogging suits come in every style and color. You can spend from $20 to $80 on one. But don’t feel you have to. Any loose fitting clothes will do. In hot weather, wear cotton to absorb the perspiration. During cold months, wear a hat and gloves. (Most body heat escapes through the head.)

DO spend about $20 to $30 on some well-made running shoes. Tennis shoes won’t provide support or absorb the constant pounding. Be sure your shoes fit well, with at least a thumb’s-width of space at the toes.


A good warm-up is essential. You need to stretch and condition the muscles you’ll be using in your jog. Do jumping jacks, run in place for a while. For your thighs, assume a standing position, feet slightly apart. Bend forward and touch your toes. Hold that position for 15-20 seconds. Don’t bounce. Repeat until you’ve loosened up.

To prepare the ankles, stand on the edge of a step, facing up the steps. Let your heels reach to the step below, one at a time. Stretch, don’t bounce. Relax and repeat.

So you’ll keep on jogging, here are some organizations that can help you maintain your enthusiasm.

1. Central YWCA, 426 Ross Ave. Jog-Run-Race offered for beginner and advanced runner. 827-5600.

2. Dealey Recreation Center, 6501 RoyalLn. Jogging Club offered. Awards foreach 100 mi run. 361-8010.

3. Reverchon Park Recreation Center,3505 Maple Ave. Jogging Club offered.Awards for each 100 mi run. 521-2690.


Still among the most popular exercises, because it supposedly tones up the soul as well as the body, yoga is offered at several Dallas locations.

1. Central YWCA, 4621 Ross Ave.Classes beginning end of April. Call forfees. 827-5600.

2. Fretz Park Recreation Center, 14700Hillcrest Blvd. Weekly noon classes offered. $6 for 8 sessions. 233-8921.

3. Irving YWCA, 3600 W Northgate. Weekly evening classes offered. $16 for Y members for 6 week sessions. 252-8683.

4. SMU School of Continuing Education, SMU campus. Weekly evening classes offered. $50 for 8 sessions. 692-2339.


There are lots of other activities that defy categorization. Here’s a sample of some workshops and courses that will take place this spring:

1. Hair Care Workshop-Oak Cliff YWCA, 1811 S Hampton Rd. Instruction in general hair care, proper shampoos, solving hair problems. Audience participation. 2 hour course. Class date not finalized. 339-5181.

2. Marathon Run- “Spring Fever Run,” sponsored by area YWCA’s. 3- and 6-mile runs at Bachman Lake on May 12. Open to all runners. Entry Fee. Enroll at Park North YWCA, 4434 W Northwest Hwy. 357-6575.

3. Modeling-Red Bird Recreation Center, 1808 Ariel. “Improving Your Movement” is a course introducing basic modeling techniques. Evenings. $16 for 6 sessions. 337-9593.

4. Revitalizing Course-Offered at YWCA’s. Designed to test for stress, blood pressure, fat content in the body. Counseling for correct fitness program; classes available for proper fitness training. Call Central YWCA for area locations and fees. 827-5600.

5. Weight Management Course-Central YWCA, 4621 Ross Ave. For the seriousweight problem. Includes behavior modification, diet direction for well-balanced meals, lectures on emotional and physical reasons for over-eating. Y members only. Call for times and fees. 827-5600.


If you’re bored with jogging and can’t find a tennis partner, you don’t have to forsake athletics entirely. How about something completely different: Softball? Karate? Soccer? If you want to team up, here’s where:

1. Basketball-Juanita Jewell CraftRecreation Center, 4500 Spring Ave.Organizing leagues to meet Friday evenings. 428-5319.

2. Gymnastics-Central YWCA, 4621 Ross Ave. Course beginning early April.Evenings. About $15 for Y members.827-5600.

3. Karate-Fretz Park Recreation Center,14700 Hillcrest Blvd. Evening classes offered. 6 week course for $7.50. 233-8921.

4. Karate-Reverchon Park RecreationCenter, 3505 Maple Ave. Beginning andadvanced classes offered. Evenings.Monthly classes for $10. 521-2690.

5. Karate-Red Bird Recreation Center,1808 Ariel. Saturday classes beginninglate March. 6 week course for $16.337-9593.

6. Racquetball-Central YWCA, 4621Ross Ave. Weekly classes beginning mid-March. Call for fees. 827-5600.

7. Soccer-Central YWCA, 4621 RossAve. Teams organizing. Weekly practicesand games through April. Call for fees,827-5600.

8. Soccer-Maria Morgan YWCA, 1800Bonnie View. March registration forteams. Evening practices. $15 per person.943-5373.

9. Soccer-Richardson YWCA, 515Custer Rd. March registration for teams.$15 per person. 231-7201.

10. Softball-Richardson YWCA, 515Custer Rd. April registration for teams.$15 per person. 231-7201.

11. Swimming-Central YWCA, 4621Ross Ave. Classes offered every eveningand Sunday. Fitness Swim, for swimminglaps only, offered Mon-Sat at noon andM, W, F evening. 827-5600.

12. Tennis-City Parks Tennis Center, Fretz Park, Hillcrest at Beltline Rd. Leagues available for women. Tryouts first week in March. Teams to begin late March. Call for fees. 387-1296.

13. Tennis-Garland YWCA, 3821Broadway. Adult tennis offered twiceweekly. Evenings. Call for fees. 271-4681.

14. Tennis-Red Bird Park RecreationCenter, 1808 Ariel. Beginning classes offered mid-March. Evenings. Free.337-9593.

15. Tennis-SMU School of ContinuingEducation, SMU campus. Beginning,novice, and intermediate classes offeredApril through May. Saturdays. 5 weekcourse for $40. 692-2339.

16. Tennis-Maria Morgan YWCA, 1800Bonnie View. 4 week indoor tennis classesoffered early April. Evening. $16 for Ymembers. 943-5373.

17. Volleyball-Central YWCA, 4621Ross Ave. Co-ed volleyball meets weeklyon recreational basis. Evenings. Free tomembers. 827-5600.

18. Volleyball-Fretz Park RecreationCenter, 14700 Hillcrest Blvd. Recreational volleyball offered. Days. Leaguesplanned. Free. 233-8921.

19. Volleyball-Reverchon Park Recreation Center, 3505 Maple Ave.Leagues meet weekly. Evenings. $20league fee. 521-2690.

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