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Nuns take over Zumba

Zumba instructors gear up in habits for new healthy lifestyle initiative

Sister Marie Cordata Kelly (left), principal of St. Mary’s Academy, and Rebecca Boire-West at a Zumba class at the Champlain parochial school.

Sister Marie Cordata Kelly (left), principal of St. Mary’s Academy, and Rebecca Boire-West at a Zumba class at the Champlain parochial school. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

Rebecca Boire-West wants to help people get back in the habit.

Of course, her students are a little confused at first when they walk in the classroom and see her wearing a habit. A religious habit is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order.

“I came up with the idea, and it has been received very well,” said Boire-West, a licensed Zumba instructor and certified personal trainer. “Helping others to lead a healthier life and seeing the benefits it brings them feeds my soul.”

She has been teaching Zumba classes at St. Mary’s Academy in Champlain since January, 2011. She’s always looking for creative ways to help people make exercise part of their lifestyle versus a temporary effort.

“One day, when thinking of how to help them get into the habit of a healthier lifestyle, the concept of getting back into the ‘habit’ was born,” Boire-West said. “In no time I enlisted a personal friend, Karen Bouvier of Rouses Point, to make nun costumes, complete with habits.”

The initiative has been received well.

“The students walk in and first are surprised because we are standing there in a classroom, but we are here to help you get back in the habit,” Boire-West said. “It makes them smile and we have a good time with it.”

Habit commitment cards were created so that participants could choose a habit goal related to health and fitness that they wanted to start or stop.

For the next six weeks, participants track their progress by indicating the number of days each week they reach their goal. At the end of six weeks, participants hand in their habit commitment cards and their names are entered for a prize.

The more goals they reach the higher their chance of winning.

“Although their may be only one winner for the prize drawing, everyone is a winner because if they successfully reached their goal for six weeks, chances are it will become a lifestyle change,” Boire-West said.

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