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REFLECTIONS: REMEMBER JACK LALANNE?

by Katie Butler Johnson


It’s been over 50 years since I was tuning into “The Jack LaLanne Show” and exercising along with him and his wife Elaine. Did you ever watch that program? He was a health and fitness guru who preached the benefits of exercise and healthy nutrition way before both became fashionable. He lived what he preached right up till he passed away in 2011 at age 96.


LaLanne’s feats of physical strength, such as towing a flotilla of 70 rowboats during a mile-long ocean swim in Long Beach CA in 1984 at age 70, plus his passion for fitness earned him both a spot in the California Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Schwarzenegger called him “the Apostle for fitness” for inspiring billions over the world to live healthier lives. One of those billions is Dina Scott who created Drumba.


Memories of exercising in front of my TV came to mind when Dina told me that, as a child, she actually went with her mother to some of LaLanne’s classes. She would sit in the corner, watch and listen. She dates her passion for physical fitness back to watching those classes and absorbing his message, a message she passes on daily.


You may wonder how Dina came up with her idea for Drumba. Well, she was looking for ways to help her parents stay active in spite of their physical limitations. Her Dad had developed back problems and could no longer play golf; Her Mom had Parkinson’s which greatly limited her choice of exercise. Dina began to introduce movement to them both by tapping with wooden spoons on pillows in rhythm to music. Music lifts the spirit and enhances the experience. They went from tapping on pillows to tapping on empty cardboard boxes. When those boxes were battered beyond use, Dina switched to beating on large exercise balls placed on stable bases. That’s how Drumba was born. Dina owns the world-wide rights to it and is certified as a personal trainer by ISSA and for health and fitness by Cooper Clinic.


Drumba is unique in that it’s an exercise for all ages and all ability levels. At Dina’s Studio in Allen, Texas, I’ve seen three generations drumming side by side - each at their own level. It’s adaptable for everyone. You can sit down in a chair if you need to and just exercise the upper body or you can stand still and drum or you can move your feet to the music’s rhythm while you keep drumming the drum sticks.


I first learned of Drumba when Dina opened her Studio in Allen. I was curious about it and wanted to see for myself just what it was. And, frankly, I really needed a fitness “tune up.” When I walked in the door, I could feel the positive energy in the place. I got to sample a session and was hooked.


Shortly after I’d started Drumba, I had to have a heart operation for the AFIB I’d been dealing with for several years. I told Dina I’d be out for awhile but back when I got the OK to exercise again. She could have just waited for me to return weeks later, but she didn’t. She could have forgotten that I was having an operation as she has many clients and a busy life, but she didn’t. She remembered and took the time to call and check on me. I felt valued. That’s Dina. She genuinely cares about each of her clients.


You’ve just got to experience a Saturday morning class with around 40 Drumba guys and gals drumming and moving through the music with Dina leading the way. Those hip swaying cha-cha Drumba dance moves are beyond fun to execute! And as an unexpected bonus, I discovered I log more that 5000 steps on my fitbit during the 45 minute class! But, more importantly, it’s a place where friendships are made and people feel at home. As longtime Drumba Divas Jan Ridley and Lorraine York describe it: “It’s a happy place.”

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