Aerobic Exercises: Oh My Aching Body

Courtesy photo  Julie Manown puts the author through the paces at Mastick Senior Center.

Aerobic Exercises: Oh My Aching Body


Out of shape at age 79, I decided it was time to begin exercising. I signed up for an aerobic fitness class at Mastick Senior Center. Wow, was I in for a surprise. The class is almost non-stop for nearly two hours. It has at least 50 senior citizens. The instructor is Alameda native Julie Manown, an American-certified aerobics instructor. She’s taught aerobic classes since 1995, and is dynamic and personable. 

On Mondays and Fridays I exercise with Julie. She begins with warm-up exercises, stretching and squats instructing us to tighten our abdomens, keep the tummy tucked in tight and breath in as you squat and exhale as you come back to a standing position. She has us start slow for four counts and then speed up for several minutes.

Squats are hard for me to do, but I’m not going to quit. There is slow progress. We’re told to shake out our legs, immediately followed by working out with weights. We start with holding the weights straight out from the body and do slow curls for four counts. Then we speed up the curls.

Another exercise involves holding the weights out to the side of our bodies, palms and elbows up. The weights are then lifted in a curl, but end up over the head and pointing down behind the shoulders. This also starts out slow, then speeds up.
Oh yes, Julie does the exercises with us. We only break for water, weights, chairs and floor mats.

To be certified by the American Fitness Association Julie studied anatomy, kinesiology (mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement), bone structure and the body’s pulmonary system. She also earned a Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation Health Certificate.

“I fell in love with teaching,” Julie says. She likes to add dance steps to exercises, like “cha, cha, cha.” also allows her to do things like add dance steps to the exercises. She has a step exercise which involves a “cha, cha, cha.”  
She loves ballroom dancing with her husband, Myron, whom she met in 1979. Four days later he proposed and she accepted with the provision that they never leave Alameda. They are parents of four grown children and have a three-year-old granddaughter.

She follows a family tradition of performing. Her mother was a dancer. Her father, Al Zohn, a Dixieland Jazz musician led a band called the Rhythm Kings. They were on radio stations KYA and KFRC in the 1930s and 40s. Her father’s music career began in vaudeville on the East Coast in the 1920s.

Besides Julie, her parents had five sons, all musicians who joined their father as Rhythm Kings. This is where Julie’s musical interest and performing began as a figure skater on ice at eight years of age.

She skated for the San Moritz Skating Club based in Dublin and San Bruno. She also became a member of the United States Figure Skating Association. 
In 1992, she won a bronze medal skating in an international precision skating contest in Portland, Ore.

She ended her figure skating career in 1992, after having trouble walking and underwent two hip replacements. She attributes this to stresses on her body resulting from figure skating.

In 1995, she received certification from the American Fitness Association. She began teaching aerobic exercises at the American Family Fitness Center in Brentwood.


Lyle La Faver lives in Alameda.