Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Zumba is a strength and cardio fitness program that has taken exercise devotees by storm. Done regularly you cannot help but shape up with Zumba. Columbian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez developed Zumba during the 1990’s basing the movements in a Zumba class on different styles of Latin America dance. The numbers are overwhelming; approximately 14 million people take weekly Zumba classes in over 140,000 locations, spread around the world into150 countries.
The website Zumba.com provides the following quote “Founded in 2001, Zumba Fitness is a global lifestyle brand that fuses fitness, entertainment, and culture into an exhilarating dance-fitness sensation! Zumba exercise classes are ‘fitness-parties’, that blend upbeat world rhythms with easy-to-follow choreography, for a total body workout that feels like a celebration. We offer different types of Zumba classes, plus DVD workouts, original music collections, apparel, and footwear, video games, interactive Fitness-Concert events, and a quarterly lifestyle magazine and more”.
Some people report amazing weight loss when attending Zumba classes regularly (recommended 3 times per week). People forget they are exercising as they move to the fast paced music. It doesn’t matter what your age or size there is a Zumba class to fit you. Many people hesitate to join a class because of fear that they can’t follow the dance steps. But you are not expected to be able to follow the steps in the beginning. Even if you never learn the steps perfectly you won’t be alone and you will still have fun shaping up with Zumba.
Zumba is usually a one hour class and taught by trained instructors who must be licensed under the organization, “Zumba Academy”. The original Zumba class style is always available however it has blossomed and now offers the following categories as well:
Described as the “ultimate dance-fitness party” with fast and slow tempo as well as resistance training exercise.
Toning sticks are used throughout the class and the abs, thighs, arms, are mainly targeted.
A revitalizing class in a swimming pool providing low-impact exercise.
You will use a chair in this class and the exercises are geared towards full-body toning as well as cardio.
In this group the Zumba moves have been modified so the class is simpler and paced for older adults.
Similar to Zumba toning, using toning sticks, but paced for older adults.
Zumba in The Circuit
This class follows a circuit training format, moving through the stations in 30 second intervals, combined with dance cardio. This class is usually only 30 minutes.
Prepare to be sore after your first Zumba class. The specific dance moves may cause you to work muscles that haven’t been used in awhile. But don’t get discouraged; continue the class and very soon the soreness will be gone. I participated in Zumba class and found it to be fun; my moves were way out of sequence as I am “rhythmically –challenged” but no one seemed to notice as they concentrated on their own dancing and having fun.
Plan to sweat, take a towel and water to class, and wear good athletic shoes. The one warning I give regarding Zumba class is if you have knee problems some of the side to side movements can be hard on the knees. I encourage you to give it a try. It won’t be a perfect fit for everyone but you won’t know until you attend the “ultimate dance-fitness party”.
Always check with a medical professional before starting any exercise routine. Be healthy, be happy!
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