MORGANTOWN — Viveca Jensen, a native of Sweden, is a fitness expert, who in 2009, combined her three favorite exercises — Pilates, boxing and dance — into a new, effective and fun workout called piloxing.
The goal is to allow participants to improve themselves physically and mentally.
Three years ago, Alicia Fancher launched her own piloxing class in Morgantown. Classes combine cardio and muscle toning in a short, intensive workout session.
“I took a couple of classes from somebody else locally, and I was sold,” she said. “I loved it so much.”
The combination of boxing, dance and Pilates creates an energetic, upbeat and fun environment for participants.
From improvements in orthopedic conditions to living healthier lifestyles, this course has several benefits, according to Fancher and those who take her classes. With her background in physical therapy, Fancher is able to modify her class to fit the needs of individual students.
“One lady had a bad knee,” said Fancher. “When she started taking the class, she was developing muscles to protect the knee joint and eventually, she came in and said her knee pain was almost gone.”
Fancher said it is rewarding to have students see improvement in their conditions.
“I like to work with people, especially with orthopedic conditions, so they can still do a form of exercise without worsening their condition,” she said.
Other perks of doing Piloxing include muscle toning, improvements in balance, flexibility, coordination and weight loss. Fancher said she lost 20 pounds over six months of doing Piloxing.
Piloxing requires a combination of strength and endurance.
“It is not like going to the gym and doing 15 reps of biceps and then 15 more and working one little muscle at a time,” said Fancher. “This is full body.”
Gloria Sofranko said when she started, her active heart rate reached as high as 140 beats per minute. Now it only reaches about 125. “My resting heart rate is also much better than it used to be,” she said.
Fancher said it is not difficult to start doing Piloxing. The repetition and style of exercise allows anyone to pick it up with ease.
“A beginner could come in and feel comfortable right away,” she said.
It is in the hands of students to decide how challenging they want the class to be. Sharon Smith sees this as another benefit.
“If you come and you aren’t feeling great, you can still do it, you just hold off a bit,” she said. “You can choose how hard you want to work.”
Although this is a main exercise routine for some students, it can also combine well with alternative exercises.
“I come once a week because the other days I do yoga or I go to the gym,” Smith said. “Piloxing is a great complement to yoga.”
As a former dancer and boxer, Erin Hartman uses Piloxing to keep up with activities she loves, while improving her health.
“I like the social aspect of it and it does a lot for your balance and your core,” Hartman said. “I am 68, so balance is a big issue.”
Beyond the physical benefits of Piloxing, Fancher said one of the biggest rewards of being a member is camaraderie.
“They come in here and a couple of them go off to the side to have a conversation and I have to remind them to keep up,” Fancher said. “They count on this to see their friends and talk about other things, so socialization is a big part.”
“We do a lot of laughing and joking with each other and get into some good discussion in between sets or before and after class,” Hartman said. “It is really important to stay connected with other people and this is a really good way to do it.”
- Alicia Fancher teaches piloxing at Morgantown Dance in the Mountaineer Mall. Classes are 8:45-9:30 a.m. Monday and Thursday and 8:15 a.m. Saturdays, when enough people request it. Classes are $10. Find more on the Morgantown Piloxing Facebook page.
By Gabriella Brown