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Ammanford woman: 'I danced off nine stone at Zumba!'

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Cathy Bartlett, who has lost more than eight stone with the help of Zumba instructor Julian Rees

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THE rhythm is going to get you — healthier and happier.

An Ammanford woman is celebrating after dancing away more than eight stone thanks to Zumba.

The Latin-inspired dance exercise has been winning fans across Britain in recent years — and Cathy Bartlett has seen the benefits.

The 22-year-old said she had tried going to gym without success — and then she turned to Zumba.

Miss Bartlett, who weighed almost 23 stone 18 months ago, said: "The gym was not for me, then I heard through word of mouth about Zumba and thought I would give it ago — and I loved it.

"It is fantastic exercise but it is also fun. I could see the weight coming off and my body shape changing.

"Now I am more confident, more sociable and happier — it has made such a difference to my life. I would recommend it to anyone."

The nursery nurse's success comes as no surprise to her instructor Julian Rees, from Sketty.

Mr Rees — who goes by the name Zumba Jules — said he was convinced about the positive impact exercise has on mental and physical health. The 45-year-old former paramedic said he was forced to leave his former Ambulance Service job due to depression — but exercise gave him a new lease of life.

"People always talk about the physical benefits of exercise — but they forget about the benefits to your emotional and mental health.

"Yes, you get fit and lose weight, but you also get a boost in self-confidence."

"I have seen some inspiring changes and heard some remarkable stories — I have seen women blossom."

Mr Rees — who has been leading Zumba classes for two years — added: "Cathy said Zumba was the first time she had enjoyed exercise. It is a great way of burning calories — and it is a lot of fun."

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