GirlForce Initiative: It's off the couch and into the gym for free Jazzercise classes

The GirlForce Initiative seeks to get young girls and women to exercise more with a free program. (Jazzercise)

A study by John Hopkins University researchers found that the activity levels of most teens is comparable to that of 60-year-olds.

To combat that sedentary lifestyle, the folks at Jazzercise are offering free exercise classes to teens and women ages 16 to 21 through the end of 2017.

“If you can get up and work out every day, you’re going to be just so much better throughout life,” said Jazzercise instructor, Cori Wilson. “You’re going to be healthier, you’re going to make better decisions.”

Wilson, who’s 33, said she started Jazzercise at age 14. The GirlForce Initiative brings a “young energy” to the classes. And it’s a safe environment.

“It’s like dancing in comfortable shoes, sober, at a club with no weird guys trying to dance up on you,” Wilson said. “You build a lot of confidence in yourself, your body.”

Officials say the free program has struck a chord: for the first half of this year, about 3,500 girls and women -- like Nicolette Vanligten -- have signed on.

“I feel exhausted but great,” Vanligten said after a workout. “I know that I just got a great workout. It was fun. I get to see amazing people. It’s, again, positive vibes.”

That Johns Hopkins study found that about 25 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls did not spend the recommended 60 minutes a day exercising at least one hour a day.

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