Urban Issues


        “Ladies are you ready to Zumba?”


        “Are you really, really ready? You sure don’t sound exited enough. Let me hear you!”

        “Whooo, whooo, graaaaa. Let’s Zumba!”

        The song “Green Light” blares from the CD player at the United Community Center’s Cesar Pabon Fitness Center as 40 women begin their twice a week effort to lose weight, reduce stress and maintain friendships under the demands of Amanda Nelson, the center’s fitness coordinator and Zumba instructor.

        The first five minutes start slowly as the women warm up by stepping in place, moving sideways and swinging their arms diagonally.

        As class progresses so does the tempo of the music, from Latin to Hip-Hop to electronic music. Sweat falls, intensity increases and bursts of adrenaline fill the women.  High-

energy moves continue until Nelson calls for a break. 

        The music mellows as the class winds down. The plain blue-mirrored room now a sauna.

        The women are beaten down, sore and drenched in sweat.

        But the workouts are beneficial.

        Nelson said that one of the participants, Gloria Romero “ has told me how happy her doctor is now that her blood sugar is in check.”


        She said that Romero has lowered her blood pressure and cholesterol and no longer needs to take medication for diabetes.

        “She is now able to out-work young new incoming members,” said Nelson. “Gloria keeps up really well.”

        In addition to Zumba, the center offers other group activities such as Body Boot Camp, Capoeira Angola, Fantasy Hip-Hop, Moderate Impact Aerobics, Ab Academy and High-Low.

Participants must be older than 12 and pay the $20, three-month aerobic membership.

        After turning 14, they can pay the $3 gym guest fee to run on the treadmill or do spinning.

        Annual fees vary based on age. The adult annual fee is $110, college students  $75, seniors $25 and a family plan is $150.  Payment plans are offered for low-income members.

        “There are currently 600 active memberships” in the fitness center said Nelson.

        Through donations and sponsors, the fitness center has improved its equipment and quality, and despite criticism of it being too small, Nelson said that it serves the community.

        “In 2009, the cardio vascular equipment was renovated by the Manage Health System.”

        UCC’s fitness center offers affordable childcare for children older than 6 months but no older than 9 at one dollar an hour.

        “We are doing the best we can,” said Nelson. | UV


UCC helps women Zumba to fitness | Luz Mercado

One of participants’ doctor has said how happy he is now that her blood sugar is in check ~ Nelson