Jazzercise Santa Barbara moves outdoors to stay in person
The basketball courts outside the Youth Page Center probably haven’t been put to good use since the start of the pandemic, but they certainly provided the perfect workout spot for a group of women looking to get their Jazzercise on Friday morning.
“I call this Jazzercise COVID 3.0,” Suzy Cawthon, owner of Jazzercise Santa Barbara, said with a laugh at the Goleta site.
“First we went all Zoom, and then we went back to a hybrid where we could have class inside, and now this is the third hybrid where we’re outside and it’s been nice.”
Ms. Cawthon has had her work cut out for her during this pandemic, juggling how to effectively help her clientele stay fit.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom’s newest order, mandating the closure of indoor fitness centers, Ms. Cawthon’s most recent endeavor included her braving the outdoors.
“It was pretty crushing Monday. We had just gotten into our new night location, which is at the Lowry Davis Center, and we’d had two, three weeks of class there and they said ‘OK, you’re shut out,’” Ms. Cawthon told the News-Press.
Once hearing the news, Ms. Cawthon knew she could simply return to offer online only classes through Zoom or try to find some place to perform outdoor exercises.
Luckily, that’s where the Youth Page Center jumped in and allowed Ms. Cawthon and her instructors to hold their classes in person — outside.
“We made that plan Tuesday, and we were out here Wednesday morning,” Ms. Cawthon said.
And the difference of having classes in person has been seen by Ms. Cawthon and could be felt by the energy in the air Friday morning.
Before classes kick off, Ms. Cawthon said she usually arrives early to dust off the courts and make sure everything is set for her clients.
“We found a way to make it work, and we get here early and we blow off the courts — literally — and we trim around and pick up trash and dance for an hour, and it’s been a really great thing,” Ms. Cawthon said.
While Ms. Cawthon was her usual energetic self, she wasn’t the only one smiling.
In fact, all the women behind her— successfully spaced out — also had a smile on their face while they had their grueling workout.
“We’re able to mask and socialize and see each other in a safe environment in a safe way, and that’s just wonderful and it’s a lot more energizing when you’re dancing beside somebody.” Ms. Cawthon said with a laugh.
The clients aren’t the only ones with smiles on their faces, even the instructors are happy to be outside and getting a good workout in.
“It’s been hard on my instructors to teach through a computer screen with no feedback from people. It’s been really difficult because it’s a new challenge, but they’ve risen to the occasion beautifully so great, and I know they love being out here with everybody,” Ms. Cawthon said.
Like mostly everything these days, Jazzercise Santa Barbara’s classes are all still offered through Zoom, so people who want to isolate can.
But for Ms. Cawthon, she knew she at least wanted to offer the option for people to try to workout with people around them.
“It’s really a cool experience because the fresh air is wonderful, and we obviously have ample space to social distance. And it’s not preferred to be on this surface, but everyone’s making do and it’s really great,” Ms. Cawthon said.
“We are just thrilled.”
While it’s been nice to be outside, Ms. Cawthon also said the mental health aspect is also crucial to working out.
With people stuck inside their homes, the ability to come out and release some of that pent-up energy is key to trying to keep a positive mindset during a trying time.
“I mean, it is just so essential. We have had people who have Jazzercised for 30-plus years, and it’s a part of their social life. And I just think it’s so important for physical and mental health,” Ms. Cawthon said.
Of course, it also helps when these classes are held in Santa Barbara, which usually has the perfect weather for any given day.
“Thank you for the marine layer, so it’s not too hot and that’s just really nice,” Ms. Cawthon said with a smile.
Classes for Jazzercise Santa Barbara will be held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. right outside the Youth Page Center near the west end of the outdoor basketball court. Joining in on one class costs $15.
Ms. Cawthon hopes to hold even more classes and is currently in talks with the center to try to add classes on weekends.
“The more the merrier, so anyone who wants to come should come on down,” Ms. Cawthon said.