Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Hilary Coull: ‘How Jazzercise dance workout lifted me out of a huge hole’

Hilary Coull was a single mum when she discovered Jazzercise and it transformed her life.

Hilary Coull at a Jazzercise dance class in Aberdeen
Hilary Coull says Jazzercise has made her happier and healthier than ever. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

As a young single mum going through a divorce, Hilary Coull felt utterly worthless.

But during that dark period in her life she found light, fun, friendship and inner confidence in the form of Jazzercise, a dance cardio class that changed her life.

“At the time I was a single mum and I felt I was worthless but Jazzercise really lifted me out of a huge hole,” says Hilary, from Kingswells.

“It definitely got me through that time and I thank my lucky stars every day that I found Jazzercise.”

Hilary Coull
Hilary loved Jazzercise so much that she became an instructor. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

A leap of faith

Eighteen years on from that difficult period and Hilary, a mum-of two who is happily remarried to Mike Coull, feels healthier and happier than ever before and is now using the power of Jazzercise to help other people to feel as good as she does.

“Back in 2014, I took a leap of faith to become a Jazzercise instructor,” says Hilary.

“I’m actually quite a shy person so being on stage is the last thing that I’d ever want to do.

“But one of the instructors encouraged me to do it and I’m so glad I did.”

The group of women in exercise gear
Put your hands up in the air if you love Jazzercise. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Not a leg warmer in sight

Forget leg warmers and jazz music, Hilary says Jazzercise is a dance cardio workout to current music with elements of pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training.

“Before I went along I thought it would be old ladies in leg warmers and jazz music but it’s not like that,” says Hilary.

“You just need to experience a class to see that.

“It’s very welcoming and it lifts them out of a mindset of I can’t do this, I’m not good enough or people will judge but it’s nothing like that.

“It’s a dance cardio but incoporating things like jumping jacks, skipping, strength work with our body weight or hand weights, resistance bands as well as planks and sit-ups.

“It’s a fitness class but it’s to the dance beat which gets you going.”

Hilary stretching
Hilary is on a mission to help people feel stronger both mentally and physically.  Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Self love and self care

For Hilary, who owns her own Jazzercise franchise at Kingswells Village Hall and Milne Hall in Kirkton of Skene in Westhill, the class also has mental health benefits.

“It lifts people out of a mindset of ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m not good enough’,” says Hilary.

“I have women coming to the class who have gone through bereavement and it has helped them get through that period of their life.

“I’ve got women coming along who are pregnant who are able to return to classes soon after giving birth because they feel strong and focused.

“There’s also a lot of people who have retired who feel lost and unsure of what to do so the class gives them routine and a chance to socialise.

“The class is all about having that me time and makes you feel worthy.”

Hilary Coull leading everyone at the Aberdeen Jazzercise dance class
Hilary teaches classes in Kingswells and Westhill. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

It’s a fun night out but during the day

Reflecting on what she loves so much about Jazzercise, Hilary says it’s also the social side.

“When I first started going to Jazzercise, I went along with one of my friends but she moved to Australia so I was forced to go myself but it wasn’t a problem because everyone was friendly and welcoming,” says Hilary.

“The people were all chatty, it was great.

“It was like a night out but during the day with no wine.

“You turn up, have a little chat before class then we have a laugh during it before chatting afterwards and maybe going for coffee.”

Hilary Coull leading the Aberdeen Jazzercise dance classes
Jazzercise is for people of all ages and abilities. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

Friendship and fun

And unlike solo exercise, Hilary, who has two grown-up children Jake, 20 and Libby, 18, says the group fitness element keeps people motivated.

“Having your friends asking you if you’re going to the class is a great motivator,” says Hilary.

Remembering how nervous she felt when she went along to her first class, Hilary is keen to reassure anyone who is thinking about coming along.

“Come along and give it a go, it’s probably not what you expect it’s going to be,” says Hilary.

Hilary Coull at the Aberdeen Jazzercise dance classes
Jazzercise incorporates everything from dance and pilates to yoga. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

“We don’t have mirrors in class and we’ve got people of all ages and abilities and all shapes and sizes who are doing it for different reasons.

“No-one will be looking at you they’re all looking at me on the stage and you’re never going to be picked out in a class.”

As well as seeing her class members thrive, Hilary also enjoys sharing her knowledge with new instructors.

“The instructor that I trained recently is a 20-year-old mum and she’s oozing this quiet confidence that she didn’t have before so to watch her flourish is great,” says Hilary.

Wellbeing diary with Hilary Coull

Hilary Coull
Hilary Coull shares her top tips for health and wellbeing. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

What are your top tips for health and wellbeing?

I like to ensure I get a good nights sleep as this helps me start the day positively. If I’m teaching morning and night, I ensure I take a power nap in the afternoon as I need it. I also try to eat healthy meals so for breakfast I normally have yoghurt, blueberries, raspberries and granola with a drink of lemon, clove and ginger tea. It seems to give me the energy I need. For lunch I’ll have a wrap with chicken, hummus and spinach. For dinners we vary to suit family life but we try to make it as healthy and nutritious as possible with a treat or two in between. I also surround myself with positive people as this helps to make me happy and therefore healthy.

How else do you like to de-stress and relax?

I do a lot of dog walking. I enjoy many long walks in the local fields listening to my routine music which helps me to destress. I also like to watch the odd box set or football match. I’m a Liverpool supporter, so it’s quite enjoyable just now. I also enjoy watching F1 and we are planning a trip next year for our 50th birthdays.

Can you recommend any health and wellbeing inspired podcasts/books/TV shows/films?

My favourite guided meditations for power naps are The Honest Guys 30 minute and Ally Boothroyd 30 minute.  I also like any of the Michael Seally sleep hypnosis one too.

Do you incorporate health and wellbeing into your diet?

Yes, diet is important to me as I need energy to keep me going through the day.  A typical day for me can involve be a run through of the Jazzercise set at home before teaching the full class then a run through of the class at night plus another full class at night. In addition, fit in housework, shopping etc,  therefore a good diet is essential to keep me fit and able to do all that.

For more information about Hilary’s classes, check out her Facebook page: