Exercise jam gets festival off to a heart-happy start

Those planning to attend To Life! might want to skip their usual morning workout and toss a pair of gym shoes in their bag before heading out.  

Festival organizers are kicking off the day with a group exercise class to get participants moving and burning calories — you know, before sampling the multitude of culinary delights that the festival has to offer.  

Beginning at 11:15 a.m., instructors from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Sports and Wellness Complex will lead a U-Jam Fitness class open to everyone, regardless of experience. The group is slated to meet at the Jessica Saal Memorial Main Stage.

U-Jam is a cardio fitness program for all ages that unites world beats with urban flavor. It combines dance and high-energy music for a workout that guarantees participants will work up a sweat. The session will last about 45 minutes.    

“The class takes you around the world, from hip to Bollywood,” said Michele Mandell, group exercise manager at the Oshman Family JCC. She expects about 100 people to show up. “This is a performance as much as it is a class.”  

Added festival director Amy Grossman: “This is not your typical Jane Fonda aerobics from the ‘80s.”

In addition to the U-Jam workout, several trainers from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Sports and Wellness Complex will be on hand to chat with those interested in fitness center memberships.

“The JCC is very committed to promoting our wellness program, ‘Live Fully,’ ” Grossman said. “It’s an important part of our mission.”