Introduction to Leah’s Legacy in Aerobics

Leah Delancey Chang left us suddenly way too soon, but her spirit remains vibrant within the community she so profoundly influenced. I had the honor of speaking at her memorial, attended by over a hundred friends and family, and I’d like to share those words again, reflecting on the profound impact aerobics and Leah had on all of us.

Our Connection Through Aerobics

My journey with Leah began decades ago, during the peak of the high-impact aerobics craze across Southern California. This era marked a revolution in fitness, where dance exercise rooms became sacred spaces for a new form of group exercise. It was here, amidst the energy and enthusiasm of packed classes, that I met Leah.

Leah: The Front Row Leader

Leah wasn’t just a participant; she quickly became the heart of every class. A former captain of the color guard for UCLA and a USC Law School graduate, Leah commanded the room from the front row, setting the standard high for performance and precision. Her spot in the class was hers alone—a rule everyone learned quickly. Leah’s intensity in aerobics was matched only by her dedication to everything she pursued.

Shared Lives and Lasting Friendships

Aerobics was more than just exercise; it was a social nexus that brought many of us together outside the gym. Leah’s influence extended beyond the classes, fostering friendships that turned into family ties. We celebrated milestones, shared vacations, and grew our families together, with Leah often leading in organizing our gatherings.

Leah’s Impact and Inspirational Teaching

Even after I moved away and stopped teaching, Leah continued to inspire the community by teaching high-impact aerobics. She evolved the routines, making them richer and more challenging, touching the lives of hundreds. Today, many who were moved by Leah’s passion and energy are here to remember her.

Reflections on Loss and Legacy

While we mourn the injustice of Leah’s early departure, we also celebrate the passion and joy she brought into our lives. Leah was a private person with a wicked sense of humor, a loving family, and a passion for life that was as profound as it was inspirational.

A Lasting Image

In my memories, Leah will always be in the front row, setting the pace and challenging us to do better, with a silent “good luck chump” to anyone daring to take her spot. She raised the bar not just in aerobics but in life.


Leah, rest in peace. For the rest of us, let’s keep moving, inspired by her relentless energy and passion.

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