Moving to Santa Rosa as a child, JoRene Woodworth, 64, has taught aerobics since 1980. She’s built a library of play-lists, a wardrobe of work-out clothes and a devoted following of students. The class she leads at Oakmont three mornings a week is held at Berger Center, is offered through Zoom (967 9942 2442; passcode 573596) and is recorded for other workouts.
Mother of two grown daughters and grandmother to toddler Kimber, her life, the one she shares with husband Craig, is good. This is in spite of losing their home in the October 2017 wildfire. Their home, the cars, her play-lists and spandex clothes, gone. Family albums, heirloom memories, artwork drawn by their girls and the knick-knacks that make any house a home, left as ash.
Still, a couple of weeks later, JoRene was back up on the Berger stage, wearing gifted clothes and leading class. Her welcome-back greeting, cheery smile and, upbeat music seemed to announce: “Here we are. Together. Ain’t that grand.” Her students cried. She gave hugs.
The following years brought evacuations, power outages and constant anxieties. When Covid 19 shut Berger doors, JoRene opened her garage doors and Zoomed from home. Neither the damp cold winter nor blistering summer heat stopped her. She motivates without reference to hardship or hinderance.
Today, she and Craig are settled in their new-to-them home. She’s painted, hung cabinets and even installed lighting. They’ve laid bricks and pavers, landscaped front and back and have invited old and new friends to enjoy.
JoRene admits she’s an anomaly in her family, the only one who loves exercise. “I was one of those odd kids who liked calisthenics in school. I relished feeling my muscles move; danced for hours in my bedroom, copying movements from “Where the Action Is” or T.V.’s Tom and Hansen Dancers.” Grandma JoRene hopes Kimber will be a mover. “She loves swimming, soccer, and climbing already.”
In addition to Oakmont classes, JoRene leads four other classes, is certified for instructing people challenged by balance and movement, by Parkinson disease. She says she’s inspired by students and has become certified in leading exercise classes designed for senior adults.
Spare time finds her ”soaking up the latest health & fitness journals and webinars, tending to plants and fruit trees in our garden, playing weekly games of Chinese checkers, Scrabble, or Rummikub, and, when I can, go dancing.” She loves to sleep but any book about dysfunctional families will keep her awake. “And I play a lot with a Maine Coon kitten that just learned to fetch.”
JoRene Woodworth exemplifies a life of physical, mental and emotional well-being; she glows with grace, never missing a beat.
Word to the wise: Be aware that classes are large and strenuous and new exercisers should check with doctor before beginning. Proper shoes and water are must-haves. Mats and light weights are used in some classes.