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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Decades of dance

Cathy+Lyles+has+instructed+jazzercise+a+workout+style+which+mixes+dance%2C+pilates%2C+yoga+and+strength+training+for+37+years.
Photo by Photo by Meredith Seaver

Cathy Lyles has instructed jazzercise a workout style which mixes dance, pilates, yoga and strength training for 37 years.

Cathy Lyles will celebrate her 37th year instructing jazzercise in the Bryan-College Station area in August. Jazzercise is a dance fitness franchise company founded in 1969. It is the original dance party workout, blending dance with pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training. Located in the gym of St. Anthony’s Church in Bryan, Lyles instructs jazzercise to women of all ages and offers over 10 types of class formats, ranging from low intensity to high intensity workouts, to fit the need of all individuals.
When Lyles began instructing jazzercise in 1982, she would carry her record player and record collection everywhere she taught. However, this changed when she purchased her own practice.
“The first three years I started [instructing] jazzercise, I worked out in eight different facilities,” Lyles said. “Because my enrollment kept growing, one day my husband got tired of me carrying my record player and all of my 45 records, so we bought some land right on the corner of Welborn and Grove Street and built a 3,000 square foot building, and I taught in that building for almost 20 years.”
Lyles said she enjoys getting involved with the community and is looking forward to instructing jazzercise at the Rec’s Throwback Thursday exercise class April 12 from 6-7 p.m. in the archery room.
“Jazzercise will participate,” Lyles said. “There will be yoga instructors, zumba instructors and of course, the Rec instructors that teach.”
Lyles said she is thankful to have the opportunity to help instruct the class and show students Jazzercise stays in tune with the newest workouts and music.
“I’m excited [the Rec staff] invited us to come, because we have been [in the B-CS area] probably the longest,” Lyles said. “Jazzercise will be 50 years old next year, but that doesn’t mean we are our grandma’s exercise program. We have definitely changed with the times and I’m excited to get up there and show them that when it’s our turn to do our routine.”
Lyles has developed loyal clientele through her jazzercise classes. Some of her clients have been going to her classes for decades.
Beverly Brown, Class of 1977, started going to Jazzercise in the 1980s and has been a customer of Lyles ever since. Brown said jazzercise is great for a persons overall health and she enjoys the friendships she makes while taking classes.
“Jazzercise is not only good for your physical health, but it’s also good for your mental health,” Brown said. “We form friendships there and we encourage each other.”
Brown said Jazzercise is a well-balanced work out and has a great foundation.
“I like it because of the structure of the class and [Lyles] incorporates weights too, so you’re getting strength training as well as aerobic training,” Brown said. “Another thing I like about it is that when you start, you hit a peak and then you come back down off the peak, and I think that’s very good for your heart.”
Janie Mireles has been going to jazzercise classes since 1999 and goes to classes at least three times per week. Mireles said a woman she once knew had a strong dedication to jazzercise, which inspired her to keep going.
“A lady I knew, who was older than me at the time, asked me to try [jazzercise] with her, so I went and I really liked it,” Mireles said. “She is deceased now, but she went until the very end. I mean she was sick and she would still go, so she inspired me to keep going.”
Lyles said Jazzercise has benefited her everyday life and enjoys helping change the lives of her clients as well.
“It keeps me young, healthy, happy and I enjoy giving all of those characteristics back to my clients,” Lyles said.
Editor’s note: This article was previously published with Janie Mireles’ name misspelled. This article has been updated with the correct spelling.

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