On a day when feasting is celebrated, aerobics instructor Karin Baker has some advice: “Work out before you pig out.”
Baker is teaching an aerobics class at Montgomery Village on Thanksgiving morning, a tradition she’s had for years. Dozens of students between the ages of 40 and 85 join her on the holiday to practice aerobics, donate food to the needy and enjoy breakfast.
The Damascus resident said she has been doing aerobics for 37 years and teaching for 22 years. She uses fitness guru Jackie Sorenson’s dance aerobics program to teach classes every week in different facilities in Montgomery County.
“I started in my late 20s, now i’m 65 and still doing it,” she said.
Her Thanksgiving aerobics classes start with a 20-minute warmup, she said, then she incorporates hand weights and ankle weights into the exercises. The whole class usually lasts about an hour and a half, she said.
Baker charges $5 and the donation of a can of food for entry into her Thanksgiving morning class, she said, though many students bring bags of food. The food and proceeds are donated to Gaithersburg Help, she said. Gaithersburg Help is a volunteer organization that provides food, transportation and other assistance to those in need.
She also serves a light breakfast after the class, but she warns students not to eat too much.
“Sometimes when they do the aerobics class, they walk out and start eating,” Baker said.
Though she teaches year-round, she said aerobics classes are not as popular as they used to be.
“The world of aerobics has changed,” she said. “When I started, there wasn’t a club on every corner.”
But a few of her students have taken her classes for decades, Baker said. One of her students comes to class twice a week at the age of 76.
“The people who have been with me all these years, they don’t seem to gain weight,” she said.
Baker will teach her Thanksgiving class on Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Lake Marion Community Center, locatecd at 8821 East Village Ave. in Montgomery Village.