Just like Richard Simmons in ‘Sweatin to the Oldies’, Zumba is a modern dance-fitness program that encompasses highly energizing moves with hot Latin dance music, making it seem more like a party than a fitness class. Since its inception in 1999 and then introduction in America (2001), Zumba exercise instructors now number over 20,000 and its popularity has spread to over 40 countries worldwide.
Since it is a fun way to work out, Zumba routines incorporate interval training through slow and alternating fast rhythms, as well as the addition of resistance training. When moves are done at moderate intensity and duration, this dance-type aerobic exercise can greatly improve your cardiopulmonary capacity. Zumba is both exhilarating and effective as you shake, shimmy, and stomp your way to fitness, using practically every muscle in your body.
Because of the fun element, you forget you are working your abs and back through various twisting motions made at the waist and hips. Done at optimal levels, a person can burn up to 500 calories in the course of an hour or more. You don’t need to be a good dancer to reap benefits from a Zumba class. Moves are easy to follow as they have been choreographed to suit the general public. It is designed to be fun and there are several levels to Zumba fitness.
Classes can be somewhat modified depending on the instructor. Certainly, a good teacher will motivate you to work hard and encourage you to move; he/she may be better at one type of dance than another. Because some moves are quite acute with fast twists and turns, you should be careful to warm up first, pay attention to your joints, and wear proper footwear to protect your ankles and knees as you dance. Just like aerobics, if you feel the move is high-impact, ask the teacher for a low-impact version of the step.
Zumba classes are generally one hour in length, covering such dances as cha-cha, mambo, merengue, cumbia, even hip hop and belly-dancing. Due to Zumba’s popularity, they have now created new programs to reach as many people as possible, both the young and the old. While there is ‘Zumbatomic’ for children, there is also ‘Zumba Gold’ for seniors, with a special ‘Aqua Zumba’ for those who may have physical issues or medical conditions requiring working out in water to avoid high impact.
As a supplement to a treadmill or cardio routine, it may be fun to sign up for a Zumba class. If you enjoy dancing, then working out may not seem such a chore. You are more likely to stick with a regular exercise routine if you enjoy doing it, especially if you are getting good results. Zumba exercise may be just the right mix of fun and work.