Zumba workouts have benefits beyond enhancing muscle tone, flexibility and fitness.
“The workouts are great stress relievers,” says Jennifer Tenney, an attorney and also long-time instructor at the YMCA of South Collier (Marco Y) who puts classes of all ages and abilities through their moves three times a week.
Venue is the huge covered “airnasium” at the Y, which allows for ample physical distancing as Jennifer leads the 45-minute sessions with a smile on her face and sweat on her brow.
True to Zumba’s Latin-American origin, Jennifer plays pulsating salsa and merengue music through a hefty portable amplifier, and then leads by example.
“The moves are basically simple dance moves,” she says. “I have people of all ages, some in their 80s. You just go at your own level.”
As an example, the basic steps are first standing with both feet together, stepping to the right, bending knees, returning to the middle, stepping to the left and bending knees slightly, followed by returning to the middle and then trying everything a little faster with side rocking movement and some hip gyration.
Instructors such as Jennifer add their own variations, and at the end of each song, the participants clap with delight before reaching for their towels and then launching into the next four-or-so-minute song.
On this particular evening, there’s a slight, rain-cooled breeze counteracting the typical oven-like Florida August weather, and when the session ends, it’s clear the participants are on a natural high.
“It’s great exercise. I love it outside,” says Island Realtor Susie Hauze, who has enjoyed Jennifer‘s rhythmic mentorship since she began teaching about 5 years ago. “She’s so good. She plays to her audience. I’ll be doing this as long as Jennifer does.”
Jennifer‘s Y ties go back to her youth, when she remembers doing all sorts of activities such as swim, dance and afterschool camps.
Fittingly, her dad Steve Trafton served as YMCA President in the 80s, and her mom Debbie still attends every Zumba class she gives.
“I’m honored to be part of the Y, because to me it’s the center of our community,” Jennifer says, “especially for young families.”
Marco born-and-bred; Jennifer says she decided on law around the time she was an eighth-grade student.
“I always liked public speaking and history, and I always got straight As,” she says.
That aptitude resulted in graduating summa cum laude at Rollins College (Political Science), and thereafter, with law honors at Duke. She was admitted to the bar in 2004.
She has practiced law with a Marco firm for the past 16 years and recently decided to establish her own firm—Tenney Law. She specializes in estate planning, elder law, probate and real estate, along with some condominium law.
She and husband Derek have an 11-year-old daughter named Dakota. On a personal level, she enjoys walking the path around Mackle Park, sometimes jogging “slightly.”
She says she loves Marco Movies and likes shopping.
“My weakness, of course,” she says, “is sales.”
For more on the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 239-394-9622. Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco, on Facebook at marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.