Let's Party - Zumba

Steps and Rhythm - ZumbaZumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout that uses music and choreographed steps to form a fitness party atmosphere. While many of the types of dance and music featured in the program are Latin American inspired, classes can also contain everything from jazz to African beats to country to hip-hop and pop.

Since its inception in the mid-'90s by creator Alberto "Beto" Perez, the Zumba program reaches 10 million people in more than 90,000 locations across more than 110 countries, according to its website. Over the years the cardio-centric Zumba classes have grown to also include specific programming for children (Zumbatomic) and seniors (Zumba Gold), along with classes in the water (Aqua Zumba), resistance training classes (Zumba Toning) and circuit classes (Zumba in the Circuit, at Curves fitness centers).

 

Who Should Take Zumba?

Zumba is truly for anyone who can stand up and dance. And "dance" is a very liberal term here, as no dance experience or skills are necessary. People of all ages, shapes and sizes are welcome and encouraged to attend classes. I've taken Zumba classes and had a blast with everyone from a 70-year-old man to an obese woman starting her weight-loss journey, to a high school cheerleader. If you can shake your booty and like fun music, this class is for you.

What to Expect in Zumba Class?

Most Zumba classes are an hour long. They begin with a dynamic warm-up and end with a cool down and some static stretching. The workout portion is broken down by song, each with a different dance routine. While many of the dance moves instructors use are pre-choreographed Steps and Rhythm - Zumbaby Zumba, instructors often add their own flair, dance steps or even create an entirely new routine to their favorite songs. Common moves in class are mambas, V-steps with exaggerated hips, cha-cha-chas and side touches.

Unlike other aerobics classes, where you learn a move and then add on more moves to create a routine, Zumba uses different parts of the song, such as the chorus or a particular phrase or sound in the song, as the basis of its choreography. For example, in one class I took, each time the vocalist made a kissing sound, we would shake our hips to the side.

Zumba is also unique in that its instructors don't speak much. Instead they cue you on what to do with hand signals of which direction to move, or a loud hand clap that signifies that it's time to move to a new move. Overall, participants learn as they go through repetition and by example. This can be frustrating for first-timers, but because Zumba uses a lot of the same songs over and over, you will get the hang of it after a few Zumba classes.

Benefits of Zumba

I’m sure that a lot of you are already familiar with Zumba. This fantastic workout grows in popularity more and more every single day, but I’m not sure that you know all there is to know about the amazing benefits of Zumba, one of most fun yet effective workout routines out there. So, read on and learn how to spend your time wisely and think about the wonderful benefits of Zumba the next time you sign up for a fitness program.

1. Weight Loss

In my opinion, one of the most important benefits of Zumba is, of course, the spectacular weight loss his new fitness craze can bring. This extremely fun workout incorporates a lot of routines that will improve your cardiovascular system, which is extremely helpful in your fight to lose that unwanted weight. Also, the average person will burn around 600 to 1000 calories in a Zumba class. That’s quite a lot, right? And the best part is that you won’t even notice all that effort it actually requires.

2. Body Toning

Another fabulous benefit of this type of workout is the fact that by practicing it, you’ll be able to tone your entire body in no time. Because during a Zumba class, you are supposed to move your body to the rhythm of the music, your muscles will be engaged to make some specific moves like squats and twists, thus allowing you to tone your entire body without even realizing it.

3. You’ll Make New Friends

By attending a Zumba class, you’ll be able to meet and interact with interesting and fun people. You could go to this type of workout for at least two or three times per week and you’ll get to socialize and make a lot of new friends among your Zumba classmates. In my opinion, Zumba is the perfect workout for anyone who wants to connect to other people, no matter how shy or outgoing you might be.

4. It’s Upbeat and Fun

Unlike the regular type of exercises most people do, Zumba combats boredom by making exercise upbeat and fun. If you like music, you’ll surely enjoy this type of workout and you’ll surely love the upbeat and energetic atmosphere in your Zumba class. You won’t even know when all that time has passed!

5. The Perfect Stress Reliever

Zumba is the perfect workout to take if you want to get rid of all that stress you accumulate during your every day. I could say that, for me, it’s the perfect stress reliever and some people even think that it’s even better than therapy. The upbeat moves specific to this type of workout favor the release of those mood improving endorphins, and by joining a Zumba class, you’ll surely be able to feel your worries melt away as you lose yourself in the music.

6. Improved Coordination

By joining a Zumba class you’ll definitely improve your coordination, and if you didn’t already know, it is extremely important to have good coordination as you grow older. Maybe this doesn’t seem so important to you right now, but you will appreciate it once you get older and you won’t suffer from the consequences of poor coordination.

7. It Works For Every Age

Zumba is definitely the perfect type of workout for all ages ‘cause it combines a lot of fun elements, like music and those energetic movements with exercising. There are even some Zumba programs designed especially for children called "Zumbatonic," which helps them be aware of the amazing benefits of exercising from an early age, making them feel more active and healthy. It’s also the perfect exercise for the elderly by helping them stay strong and supple.

8. Improved Mood

A lot of research has discovered that exercising can help you produce those mood-improving endorphins. Zumba is considered to be also one of the best ways to fight depression since a lot of studies have supported the fact that you must participate in cardiovascular exercise such as dancing (and Zumba is all about dancing) in order for the highest amounts of endorphins to be released in your body.

9. Greater Confidence

In my opinion, Zumba is also the best way to boost your confidence. Thanks to all that dancing that a Zumba workout requires, you’ll lower your inhibitions, you’ll improve your posture, you’ll have better coordination and you’ll feel good about yourself. These changes will reflect immediately on your mood and on your appearance. Someone who feels good also has greater confidence and appreciates more, the wonderful person that she is.

I hope I convinced you to at least try going to a Zumba workout and you’ll see how addicted you will be afterwards to this wonderful fitness exercise. Do you go to Zumba classes? What amazing benefits of Zumba have you discovered? Do tell!

10. From Boring to Bodacious

One of the best reasons to try Zumba is that it always keeps you interested. This workout does not ever get boring. It's fun, fast-paced, and ever-changing. You'll never get used to the routine, which is important for two reasons: you won't get bored and stop working out, and your body won't get used to your routine and stop feeling the burn.

What to Wear

Steps and Rhythm - ZumbaIt's important to wear clothing that is moveable, breathable and will wick sweat away. Because of how popular the classes are, the room can heat up fast, so consider dressing in layers that you can remove. Also, sport a pair of supportive fitness shoes that allow you to pivot your feet easily.

What to Bring to Zumba Class

Bring a towel and a water bottle because you'll need them! And unlike some fitness classes, you'll have ample time to use these items. Most instructors give a short 30- to 60-second break between songs. Also consider bringing a heart rate monitor to see exactly how hard you're working.

More Zumba Tips

For your first class,show up 10 minutes early and introduce yourself to the instructor and inform him or her that you are a beginner. Ask what you can expect in the class and where you should stand so that you can see the instructor's full body. Then, enjoy the experience! Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't worry if you are unable to get all of the steps the first time around: no one does. The steps will come easier after a few classes.

Zumba is one of the highest energy workouts I've tried, and it's the most fun, too. Most of the time it really doesn't feel like you're working out at all—you just get caught up in the fun of the music and the moves. Before you know it, a whole heart-pumping hour has passed! If you like a good sweat, then you'll love Zumba.