- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Crystal Moulder has found a way for exercise to be fun and exciting without the tedious cardio and monotonous weight training.

Moulder teachers a women’s hip-hop aerobics class on Mondays and Thursdays at Wyatt’s Gym. While she does help people lose weight, more importantly, she helps them take control over their lives while building confidence.

“That’s the most important thing to me,” Moulder said. “We can come and have fun and it’s great but for somebody to come and actually get results from what they’re doing is amazing.”

Moulder started the class about six years ago after attending a Zumba class at Shape Up Sisters. She enjoyed dance aerobics because it didn’t feel like a traditional workout. She approached the owners of Wyatt’s Gym and was given permission to start her class, which now involves up to 60 women a session.

The classes use a combination of old-school and contemporary hip-hop dances from “the Kid n’ Play” and “the Roger Rabbit,” to “The Whip” and “Nae-Nae.” Moulder has watched music videos on television and YouTube to come up with the routines for her class.

The most satisfying thing for Moulder is watching individuals grow and improve their health. She has seen participants lose over 100 pounds since joining her class and has helped people with medical issues overcome their disease.

“There’s people that have come in with Multiple Sclerosis with no core or stability and can’t get through two songs,” Theresa Delgado, a participant and Zumba instructor at Wyatt’s Gym said. “With her, they learn how to get their stability back, conquer their MS and get back their quality of life that they didn’t have prior to coming to class.”

Delgado was one of the first students in Moulder’s class and has lost 85 pounds. She became involved with the class because, like most others, enjoyed dancing and was familiar with the music.

She said when students first start, people tend to hide themselves but as they become more comfortable with the environment, they no longer care about the choreography and begin to build confidence.

“Once you get to that point that’s when you feel more into it and it doesn’t feel like a workout anymore,” Delgado said. “You don’t realize you’re burning as many calories and that transitioned into strength training and eating healthier.”

At the end of class, the women congratulate each other on another successful workout and have developed a close-knit community.

“You meet so many people and it’s almost like a family,” Moulder said. “There are so many girls in there and when we go out and do stuff we all go out together. That’s what I love to do is help people.”

The community aspect of the class is what helps some participants gain confidence. Moulder and Delgado make sure to learn people’s name and soon become involved in their lives and begin to ask about work and the well-being of others’ families.

“Once they come a few times and get to know us and we talk to them and make them feel welcome and realize we’re just being stupid then they keep coming back and want to come,” Moulder said.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com

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