Editor's note: This is the wrap-up story detailing the Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013.
MARQUETTE - The music was infectious. Even those who weren't dancing couldn't help tapping their toes along to the beat as community members sweated along with Zumba instructors toward a healthier lifestyle.
The Zumbathon, which is a Latin-infused cardio dance workout, was held Thursday evening at the PEIF building. The event was the final activity night for participants of the Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013.
Community members sweat to the music during three, 45-minute segments of Zumba at the PEIF building on Northern Michigan University’s campus. More than 200 people attended. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
The three Zumba instructors, from left, are Alesia Maki, Ashley Carlstrom and Laura Johns. The Zumbathon was the wrap-up activity for the Healthy Lifestyle Journal: Community Wellness Challenge 2013. (Journal photo by Abbey Hauswirth)
But the PEIF was open, free of charge, to all community members. Numerous individuals took advantage of the exercise machines, climbing wall, PEIF equipment and the pool.
"It (Zumbathon) was a total success!" Katie Theut said. Theut is the fitness and informal recreational manager of the NMU Intercollegiate Athletics and Rec Sports. She said 177 individuals were dancing. Another 115 PEIF members also took part.
"I did a count in the first 10 minutes and we were at about 97 people dancing," Theut noted. "Within an hour of that we were up to 162 people."
She emphasized that Zumba is for everyone. And the turnout was true testimony of that, with ages ranging from elementary age children up to senior citizens.
One of those senior citizens was Janice Simpson of Harvey. Simpson, along with her three friends, decided to form their own HLJ team this year. They are known as the "S" team, as each of their names, either first or last, begins with an "S."
"I'd really encourage people to do Zumba... I've already done two full sets!" Simpson laughed.
This was the first year Simpson had tried the HLJ program and she said it is something she hopes to do next year, as it combines fun and learning into one program.
Although she missed one week while on vacation in Florida, she said she stuck with it and did Water Zumba while on leave.
"You don't even realizing you're exercising," Simpson said.
According to Deb Sergey, RD, IC Supervisor, MGH Wellness Center, Marquette, the Zumbathon was a unique event.
"People were very positive about the activity night and once we receive more feedback from our online surveys, we can look at how we can keep improving."
She added that about 15 people from each HLJ region, which includes Ishpeming, Negaunee, Gwinn and Marquette, attended.
The last day for HLJ participants to log exercise minutes and cups of fruits and vegetables per day was Monday. From there, the numbers will be compiled and a winning team will be announced.
"This is something we really hope we can offer again next year," Sergey said.
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.