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Conductorcise: workout for body, mind, soul

March 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
It's called a workout for mind, body and soul. From toddlers to seniors, all you need is a tiny baton to wave in the air. The program known as Conductorcise is one innovative way to get in mental and physical shape.

While not heavy, these seniors are lifting orchestra batons to get in shape

"A little humor, a little movement, great music and you see a little smile here, you see a little movement there. Tremendous brain stimulation," said Maestro David Dworkin, creator of Conductorcise.

Dworkin is a former Metropolitan Opera Clarinetist and conductor. He likens his eight-year-old Conductorcise program as "auditory art": a combination of music appreciation, P.E., a bit of brain teasing and fun, all in one.

"Trying to direct the brain and their musical awareness to sounds, instrument sounds, color, conversations in music," said Dworkin.

All while increasing metabolism and boosting feel-good brain chemicals.

"We walk and do other exercises but we've never had the imagination to do something so uninhibited and kind of inspiring, really," said Pasadena resident Jim Abbott.

Studies indicate that people move a little bit harder when they're listening to music that they like. In this case, classical.

But Conductorcise isn't just for seniors: We've got toddlers, preschoolers, teenagers and more.

"From independent, assisted nursing and Alzheimer dementia," said Dworkin. Also stroke victims and those with Parkinson's disease.

In 2008 the International Council on Active Aging voted Conductorcise tops in innovative programs, leading to its expansion to Australia, Singapore and the Netherlands.

The musical workouts feature intervals with music commentary so participants catch their breath. Big movements produce big smiles, elevating heart rate and core temperature to crescendo.

If Gustavo Dudamel can do it, you can too.

Conductorcise was held at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music, sponsored by MonteCedro Retirement Community.

There are also certifications available for groups and facilities.