If you want to work up a sweat while singing along to 1980s pop tunes, this old-school aerobics class is perfect for you.
I CAN’T GET “You Got it (The Right Stuff)” by New Kids on the Block out of my head.
“All that I needed was yoooou. Oh girl, you’re so right … ”
Rather than analyze what that says about me and my 1980s-era childhood, let’s say ’80s aerobics did its job, especially when it comes to music.
I spotted the old-school aerobics class when I was at The Studio in Issaquah for tap, and I couldn’t resist returning for an ’80s-themed class.
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Teacher and studio owner Steven Oelrich encourages students to dress up. I wanted to go full-on Olivia Newton-John but, to my dismay, I do not own a shiny leotard, sweatbands to tame appropriately teased-out big hair, nor proper neon legwarmers. I threw on bright pink leggings and an off-the-shoulder top and called it good.
Oelrich wore legwarmers and a neon green T-shirt, though the rest of the class wore relatively tame outfits. I was happy to see one T-shirt homage to George Michael.
Oelrich started us off with a warm-up to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.” I had trouble doing the warm-ups and not whipping my head dramatically side-to-side. I wished I had put my hair in a side ponytail.
The music and moves kept improving. Oelrich’s dance background comes out in the class, with different sequences, many of which felt like ’80s dance routines. We did plenty of marching in place, high knees and big arms, and added in side-to-side shuffles and jazz squares. I don’t remember what aerobics classes were like in the ’80s, but swishy side-to-side hips sure felt like an ’80s thing. Also, I know aerobics back then looked slightly frenzied, with arms thrown side-to-side, and we had that down pat.
We marched forward and back to Kim Wilde’s version of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” We jumped around to “What a Feeling” by Irena Cara. During “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, things got really frantic, and we jammed “Footloose”-style.
We went to the floor for core work to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” but this was the ’80s, so we did bicycles on our backs; there wasn’t a plank in sight.
And, of course, we used light hand weights to strength-train. We did biceps curls, reached our arms up overhead and lunged side-to-side while adding triceps curls.
Some of the faster-paced songs got my heart rate up, but overall the pace was moderate. Maybe I have taken too many high-intensity interval classes, but aerobics felt more focused on fun and moving your body than whipping you into shape. It still required plenty of energy, so perhaps we should give the ’80s credit for being on to something.
I was tired by the end, and happy to cool down to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”
If you like ’80s music but not ’80s style, you can skip the dress-up element of the class. But the tongue-in-cheek homage to an era that holds a fond place in my heart made the class stand out, and dressing up, even modestly, made it more fun for me. We moved our bodies, we sweated, we sang along to awesome tunes. And it’s a great way to dial in your best ’80s dance moves, to boot.