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  “I will take what I learn from my teachers at Dance Workshop with me for the rest of my life. Dancing has directly and indirectly molded my personality. It has taught me that doing something that I love can help make a difference in someone else's life. That is a great feeling!”
  Emily Blystone, student  
Local Women Experience Amazing Successes with their Fitness Programs
It is common knowledge that exercise and healthy lifestyles are good for you. Many of the benefits being touted are tangible, many are intangible. The intangible benefits are often hard to measure. There is no measurement for how energetic you feel after a workout. Or the feeling of empowerment that you get after completing a challenging workout. Or the general satisfaction that you stuck to your healthy eating plan for the day.

Many of the tangible benefits are easy to see – weight management, flatter abs, more muscle tone, increased strength and stamina… But there are many, many more tangible benefits that you may not be aware of until you visit your doctor or have periodic testing. And some of our students are reporting remarkable things due to their fitness routines and improved eating plans.

Pat Dean, a Whitehall resident, has been faced with several health challenges over the last 9 years. She has battled high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and hyper-parathyroidism. The high-cholesterol was to be treated with medication, but she was determined to stay off meds as much as possible. She convinced her doctor to give her one year to get her numbers under control with exercise and diet. Using the treadmill, yoga, pilates, walking and diet, she shed 26 pounds and dropped her cholesterol 80 points. She and her doctor were convinced this was the way to go. To make her training more fun, she started taking Zumba classes 2 – 3 times a week. Her next challenge was osteoporosis, which was the result of dropping hormone levels. After being on medication for that condition for less than a year, she developed a side effect of the drug, which prevented her from continuing with that solution. She increased her calcium intake and started weight bearing exercises to build bone mass. Last year, she was diagnosed with hyper-parathyroidism, which leaches calcium from her bones and deposits it into her kidneys, placing her at risk for kidney failure. She could no longer take calcium supplements, so she had to rely exclusively on weight training to build her bone mass. She added Zumba Toning and Kettlebell to her regiment. She is being monitored closely for all of these conditions, but she has amazed all of her doctors with her achievements. Her cholesterol is at a good level, her kidneys are returning to normal, she has maintained her desired weight, and her bone mass has increased by 4% in the last 6 months. The doctors have told her to keep doing whatever she is doing, because the results are amazing!

Anita Kautz, a South Park resident, said she felt like she was dodging health bullets and it took a couple major scares until she started paying attention to the warning signs. Battling high blood pressure and pre-diabetes, she knew she was headed towards a lifetime of medications if she didn’t try to get her weight under control. “I am not a medicine person and I wanted to try to fix it before it was too late”. Attending Zumba classes 2 or 3 times per week was how her exercise regime started. “It was fun and I didn’t mind going to class. It was what I needed to get myself headed in the right direction”. She has since added Ballet Barre, Pilates, and Piloxing classes to keep herself challenged and motivated. To date, she has dropped over 50 pounds and is no longer pre-diabetic and has cut her high blood pressure medication dosage in half.

Char Bragano, a Jefferson Hills resident, has been attending Zumba classes for the last 4 years. She is combating underactive thyroid and bone loss due to reduced hormone levels. In order to maintain her weight, and maintain bone mass, she attends Zumba classes, Ballet Barre, and Core and More several times per week. She and her doctors are convinced her healthy life style and exercise schedule have contributed to her maintaining her bone density and improved energy level.

Each of these women feel that it is essential to “mix it up” with their fitness options. Each type of exercise works different parts of the body and provides different benefits, whether it is cardio-vascular, muscle building, toning, or bone strengthening. And, it keeps it fun and interesting. Ultimately, if you are enjoying your workouts, you are more likely to continue and turn fitness into a life-style, not a fad.


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Shari Opfermann,
Owner, Director
Caste Village Shoppes, Suite M-101
Baptist & Grove Roads
Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Phone: 412-884-5099
Fax: 412-884-5294
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