Mary Jane Fast surrounded by her Zumba class at the Council on Aging building. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Mary Jane Fast surrounded by her Zumba class at the Council on Aging building. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
VAN WERT – Van Wert’s Mary Jane Fast had certain weight issues she struggled with when she was younger and at different periods in her life. These days Fast feels energy and feels exceptionally well, thanks to her investment of time in Zumba.

These days, Fast can be found at Council on Aging teaching various interpretations of Zumba to different levels of capability on Mondays and Thursdays. The Zumba Gold class is especially popular because it entails a special trained class for those who are in wheel chairs and those who need chairs. That class meets from 8:45 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. on Thursday mornings.

“This class follows Zumba Gold guidelines, but the movements are modified and the routines are performed while sitting in chairs or wheelchairs,” observed Fast. “This is for anyone 55 or older who are looking for a class that recreates the original moves that you love at a lower intensity.”

Fast said that Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance which can be modified for anyone to do. She noted that there are many forms of Zumba including an aqua Zumba for those who enjoy water.

“It’s great; people are encouraged to do what they can do to work to the best of their ability,” observed Fast. “It is designed to help participants stay active and to improve the quality of their lifestyle.”

“I have always been quite active,” continued Fast. “I took tap and ballet dancing in elementary school and was a majorette in high school. In college, I was on the drill team.”

Fast took nursing with the intention of helping people stay healthy and preventing disease.

“It’s better to train people that way rather than taking care of them in a hospital,” said Fast. “Zumba is perfect for that.”

“I was raised in southern Ohio but attended college in Capital University in Columbus,” continued Fast. “I met my husband in Columbus. He was attending Ohio State University.”

For 25 years, Fast worked at Vantage Career Center. She kept her RN Nursing license active during that time. She also worked for Dr. Wilmer Iler at Paulding County Hospital.

“I call the people in class, ‘my people,’” said Fast. “They are kind of like my family. I like to spoil them with contests and special prizes. Zumba is so much for mind, body and soul. People have bonded and support each other inside of class and outside of class.”