Today, I am proud to introduce Sherry Winn, Founder and owner of Just Dance, dance studio located at 426 Metacom Ave. in Warren, RI. I feel so incredibly honored to share this vulnerable and inspirational message she was generous enough to take the time to write. I am personally one of her die-hard followers at 426 Fitness! I love ALL her classes and hate to miss a day. Sherry talks about an incredibly important topic of mental health and how physical activity can support our holistic wellbeing and the ripple effect it can have on the community.
I asked her….
Sherry, I know fitness is a huge part of your life, between running the studio, teaching Barre, Pilates, Circuit Breaker classes at 426 Fitness and in addition, I'm sure you have your own personal workout routine.
I would love to know how and why you prioritize this form of wellness so efficiently in your life?
What keeps you so unbelievably motivated?
Are there any tips you have for people who are aspiring to incorporate a regular fitness routine into their lifestyle?
“How I prioritize wellness into my life:
Not going to the gym is not an option for me. It is how I keep my mental health in check. I suffered
from anorexia as a teenager and still struggle with body issues today. I have learned through years of
growing, changing, teaching, helping others, becoming a mom of 3 children, a wife with an extremely
supportive husband and opening 2 dance studios that if I do not prioritize what makes me feel good, I
fall into depression in turn making it impossible to nurture all of the above. Exercise has always been a
part of my life. I started dance at 3 years old and it is now my career, which allows me to help so many
other young girls and some boys. We start dancers as young as 18 months and many I see through
graduations and after. I know so many of the struggles the kids have today and the studio has become
their second home as well as safe space to talk about how they feel. It is not just dance it is a lifeline for
“The classes I teach at 426 Fitness complete me. There are so many women and men coming in everyday
looking forward to the hour they have for their own mental therapy. It is amazing and an honor to learn
about each and every person that comes into my classes, their passions, careers, family lives. They are
people of all different levels and ages. My classes are hard but not intimidating the beginner as I always
tell every person in the room “it is your workout, you do what you can, how you can and don’t compare
anything you do to the person next to you.” I usually throw in the joke “if you want to take a nap, that’s
fine as well, it makes everyone feel welcome and seen.”
The dancers and gym members all stayed with me during Covid taking zoom classes and I know we all
helped each other everyday just by attempting to do classes for ourselves, with kids screaming, dogs
barking, home schooling, etc.”
"How do I fit it in?
Even back in my mid 20’s and early 30’s I had to go to a 9 to 5 job, I would get up at 4:30am and get in
my hour. If I didn’t do that my mind was not clear to start my day. Yes, now I am fortunate enough that
I have made a career out of it. Thankfully my husbands’ career has been very good, and it has allowed
me to follow this path. I am not rich, I work 24/7, I often hear from friends and family it is not worth the
hours you work, but I know I am helping change lives which in turn makes me feel good.
5 years ago, I lost my mom, “Zibby” to brain cancer after 10 years of battling lymphoma, she was only 65
and my best friend, life of the party, everyone loved her. The thing that helped me cope was getting on
an elliptical machine, listening to sad music and cry my eyes out. I know that sounds strange but when I
teach, I focus on my dancers or gym members. Those quiet moments alone exercising are how I heal.
This past September we lost my Stepmother, Claudia to the same thing and relived the nightmare over
again. I honestly cannot tell you how I would deal with all of this without keeping my routine, even on
my worst days. Do I miss days? Yes! I have learned my body needs rest and I know listen and try not to
be so hard on myself.
2 years ago, also during Covid, I did something I never in my life imagined doing, I donated a kidney to
one of my high school friends. I knew I would have to step away from the studio for a good 3 months, I
did not know how I would recover, could I handle not working out mentally? I had kids to take care of,
my husband needs me, would I able to teach/exercise at the level I always have? These questions went
on and on in my mind, however in my heart this was my ultimate test. Needless to say, 3 months after surgery I was back in all of my classrooms, a little slower but there. It took a few months, and I am more
than 100% now.”
“My journey will continue as long as I can keep going and I can’t imagine a different path to healing than
exercise. Just recently I have become a brand ambassador for the clothing line strong Just Strong. The
company is all about being strong not only physically but most importantly mentally. We are also in the
process of opening a store front at our Just Dance location for all dancers apparel needs as well as
Keep in mind my journey is not yours, my choices are not yours, we are different so I can’t tell you how
to live your life. The advice I can give is just try it, 5 minutes a day even to start. Don’t think about
exercise as weight loss, think of it as mental health help. Once I discovered that everything changed.”
Thank you for taking the time to open up to her journey. We all have difficulties in our lives and how we manage the stress and pressure is the key! Join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more multidimensional wellness tips.
Please check Sherry out and follow her, she is a beautiful soul inside and out!
Studio website https://www.justdanceri.com/
studio address 426 Metacom Ave Warren, RI 02885