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Health and fellowship while on the move

April 24, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HALFWAY - There's a group of women who get together regularly at the Family Skating Center at 17333 Virginia Ave., but they don't have a roller skate among them.

What they do have is spunk, dedication and determination to be the best they can be through aerobics, both dance and traditional step - the skate rink is just the venue.

According to Linda Mumma, many of the longtime members of these exercise programs have been together for more than 25 years. She said some are former students of the late C.L. Widmyer, who started the group 30 years ago.

They want to continue despite what Mumma said is a struggle to survive.

"We need to get the word out about our group and entice more people to join in order to keep going," Mumma said.

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Some members are in their 30s and 40s while others are a tad older.

Dolly DeHaan, 82, said she enjoys the workout she gets and the friendship with other members of the group.

Janet Roberts has been coming for 26 years. She said she enjoys keeping fit and keeping up with friends.

Sondra Crumbacker bought the Jacki Sorensen franchise several years ago. Her members who do step aerobics, have T-shirts describing themselves as "step sisters."

An aerobics devotee for 20 years, Crumbacker said she still came to sessions when she was recovering from cancer. "I could do some of it, and the ladies were so supportive."

Healthy now and 60 years old, Crumbacker has 12 active members in her step aerobics group. The group meets three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 a.m.

The dance group starts at 9:30 a.m. on the same days. There is also an afternoon class that meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Mumma said the dance group is led by Debbie Downs.

The median age is 55. Some members are retired, some are in their 70s or older.

"We have all had our health problems, and we credit this group with getting us back on our feet," Crumbacker said.

The cost is just $4 a class, payable as you go. Discounts are available as are adjustable steps for that group. The programs change every six weeks so members don't get bored.

Though the franchise is for profit, Crumbacker said she charges just enough to cover rent and the cost for tapes and music. Instructors get no salaries.

For more information on the step aerobics, contact Crumbacker at 301-223-9467 and leave a message.

To reach Mumma about the dance groups, call 301-582-1908.

The ladies not only spend time together at the sessions. They also can be found lunching together at least once a month.

Holiday parties are quite festive with participants showing up wearing antlers and other finery.

"I can't imagine not coming here," said Sheri Specht, 63. She said she has been attending sessions since 1976. "It's the first thing that goes on my calendar."

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