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Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, February 3, 2010

Health & Fitness Section

Zumba zooms to Altamont
Instructor Linendoll is getting younger

By Jo E. Prout

ALTAMONT — Anne Linendoll moves with lithe agility. Wearing a black leotard emblazoned with the word “Zumba,” her body follows the rhythms of Latin music. The back of her shirt says, “Join the Party!”

Altamont villagers have. A Zumba instructor in Guilderland and in Schenectady, Linendoll is sharing the latest exercise craze with local residents.

Linendoll, 64, teaches both water aerobics and Zumba twice a week at the Guilderland YMCA. Evening classes in Altamont began Jan. 18 at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

“I started teaching water aerobics nine years ago,” she said. Next, she became a Pilates exercise instructor. Then, Linendoll took a Zumba class. Four months later, she became certified to teach it.

“I’ve been doing it since late ’08,” Linendoll said. Because of the classes, she said, “I’m more physically fit. It’s more than that — I have more endurance, stamina, just a lot more energy. An hour of Zumba seemed like a lot at the beginning, but now it works real well. ”

Zumba is practiced in 70 countries, she said, and it is based on many ethnic dances, including salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton. The exercise uses exhilarating, easy-to-follow moves, she said, and classes are known for their party-like atmosphere.

While several people in the area are certified to teach Zumba, Linendoll is the only one who teaches Zumba Gold, a class for seniors or people unaccustomed to exercise.

“Gold is a little less intense than regular Zumba, but it is a lot of fun,” she said. “This is something that anyone can do. One woman walks with a walker. She does [Zumba] in a chair. She does the arm movements. She loves the music.”

Linendoll went on vacation and when she returned, her student told her, “ ‘There was a hole in my life while you were gone.’ It’s so nice,” Linendoll said. “It gets people who don’t normally exercise.”

Linendoll credits her fitness to the book Younger Next Year, in which she read, “You can either grow, or you can decay,” she said. “You need to do something actively to improve your health.”

Linendoll retired in 2003 from her position as a community resource coordinator at Farnsworth Middle School. She was also a local volunteer for many years, serving on the Parent-Teacher Association and its state board for several years.

“I worked full-time jobs with no pay,” she said. “My full-time job now is staying healthy. If it’s not fun, people don’t stay with it.”

She taught regular Zumba to 25 students last year in the Guilderland Adult Education program.

“If it’s there, I think people come,” she said.

Linendoll is hoping to have 10 to 20 students in Altamont. “St. John’s might hold 30,” she said. If enough residents are interested in daytime classes, Linendoll may be able to use the Altamont Martial Arts studio, she said.

The 50-minute classes are $7 for drop-ins, $30 for six classes, and $50 for 10.

“They need comfortable clothes; shoes without a lot of tread, like worn sneakers; and a water bottle to stay hydrated,” Linendoll said. “I provide the music and the choreography, and the fun.”

Linendoll is certified in Aqua Zumba, but she is not teaching it now.

“I throw some Aqua Zumba into my regular water aerobics classes,” she said.

One of her current Gold classes is not officially on the Guilderland Y roster, but she offers an early morning class to the same group that takes her water aerobics class and prefers the early hour.

“I just do it because it’s fun and I like these people,” Linendoll said.

Linendoll is active outside of her classes; she is working on climbing all 46 Adirondack peaks over 4,000 feet. She started hiking the high peaks after she turned 50, and she has climbed 24 of them so far. She also became a scuba diver after her mid-century mark, and has dived at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

“I’m determined to get better and not decay,” Linendoll said. “I think I’m not what I thought 64 could look like when I was 40, and that’s a good thing.”

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