A A unique form of exercise makes dozens of Farmville residents jump for joy at the Southside Virginia Family YMCA.
Since February, locals aged 13 to 76 have been finding friendship and fitness at the Kangoo Jumps dance classes in the gym.
The Kangoo Jumps classes are a variation on a type of low-impact aerobic exercise known as rebound fitness and use special training shoes with a patented spring system. According to Cindy Watson, the trainer at Kangoo Jumps, the technology reduces the impact on an athlete’s joints by 80% and promotes better cardio exercise.
As kangoo jumps and rebound fitness become more popular overseas, Watson, a Farmville resident, discovered the boots herself after looking for a better way to exercise.
When Watson turned 50 in 2016, she weighed 70 pounds heavier than she is today. Growing up, she said, she never did any sport or stepped foot on a gymnastics class.
After Watson lost weight thanks to special diet and exercise plans, she decided to switch from walking to running to continue her fitness journey. But she had to stop when she realized that running was causing immense pain in her ankles, knees and even hips.
While researching low-impact exercises, Watson discovered the kangoo jumps and bought a pair on a whim. She learned to use it alone at home, and although it took weeks to finally feel good, she quickly found herself and fell in love with the exercise.
While Watson originally used her kangoo jumps to follow other coaches’ videos on YouTube, in 2019 she decided to go further with her newfound passion. After receiving a certified trainer from the Athletics and Fitness Association of America and later a license to do kangoo dance, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began teaching small friends-only classes in the basement of her home.
In February, Watson was contacted by the local YMCA about possibly teaching kangoo jumps dance classes. She happily agreed.
Watson now teaches at the YMCA every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. It also offers “basic” courses twice a month on alternating Saturdays. To participate, residents must pre-register to receive any of the 14 spaces available, and non-YMCA members can purchase a $ 10 day pass to take the course. Watson uses each person’s shoe size and weight to make the boots perfect.
Residents of all ages enjoy taking Watson’s courses. While exercising is a great way to burn calories and stay healthy without putting additional strain on your joints, it’s also a great way to make friends.
And while it may take some people a few hours to gain the confidence to stand up in their boots on their own, others are surprised at how quickly they get used to kangoo jumps and are ready to dance in a matter of minutes.
But dancing isn’t the only thing you can do while wearing kangoo jumps. According to Watson, anything that can be done in tennis shoes can be done with the boots. Watson often wears kangoo jumps while running or participating in the High Bridge Trail. She’s even hoping to wear the boots at this year’s Heart of Virginia 10K.
Kangoo Jumps offers a variety of courses that teachers can teach, including Kangoo Power, which Watson is also licensed to take. She hopes to be able to offer Kangoo Kick and Punch courses in the future.
While the boots changed Watson’s life, for them the best part of the experience is watching people who once thought they could never do something like this and learning that they are capable of more than they think they can.
“I want this person to know that they absolutely can do this,” she said.
To learn more about Kangoo dance classes in Farmville, email Watson at bouncesquad @ icloud.com or visit her group’s Instagram page at bounce_squad_farmville.