49 Voices: Nancy Murphy of Anchorage

Nancy Murphy in Anchorage (Photo by Krysti Shallenberger, Alaska’s Energy Desk)

This week we’re hearing from Nancy Murphy in Anchorage. Murphy’s husband is in the Coast Guard, so she’s lived all over. She is a local jazzercise instructor.

Listen now

MURPHY: I had a friend, when we were stationed in California of all places, who decided we were just gonna try jazzercise as members, as friends and go and try it. I got hooked and she quit. Then I moved and ended up becoming an instructor because the area I was moving to didn’t have jazzercise.

I’ve been an instructor since 1987. I think the thing I like the most is the people. You get to have a part of everybody’s lives, even for just that one hour a day that they’re here. That’s what’s kept me doing it for so long.

My son was a year and a half old when I started teaching and now he’s 32 years old. My daughter did until she went back to work, but my son never really jazzercised. It’s usually a women’s activity. There are a few male instructors and customers, but most of them are female.

Actually next year is going to be its 50th anniversary year, so it’s been around a very long time. It is something that has been based on dance, and through the years, it’s incorporated both dance as an aerobics base as well as adding strength training so you’re getting a complete workout in your one hour that you’re here.

There really isn’t just a typical person that comes in. We have such a wide age group that walks in the door. Like the class that I just taught, I’ll have somebody that’s mid-20s and the oldest woman who’s almost 85 in my class. So, there are all types of fitness levels, every shape and size.

Usually we’re busier in the wintertime. We have a little bit of a slack-off during the summer because people are more willing to go outside and do things, but wintertime we see quite a few people come in the doors just because it’s being convenient and you don’t have to be out and freeze yourself. And plus I encourage people, because it is so dark and so cold, that you have to have to get out there and fight the blues by doing something.

How long will I do jazzercise? I don’t know. I have no idea. Everybody asks me that and I say when my body fails me, I just that’s when I’ll quit.

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org

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