I admit that when my sister first suggested trying a Zumba class years ago, I was hesitant. I love to dance but the titanium rod in my femur/knee forces me to modify movements and some activity. However, she was antsy to get on a health kick and I was eager to support her efforts. So we attended a Zumba class, which was okay. Then we attended another Zumba class with a different instructor – and we were hooked! Three years later I find myself looking forward to my weekly Zumba class. I love the music, the instructors, the other participants, the dancing.
What is Zumba®? It’s an aerobic fitness program that mixes low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance workout. Many movements are inspired by different styles of Latin American dance, and much of the workout is performed to Latin American dance music. The classes I attend also incorporate hip hop and pop music, which makes it appealing to me as I love those music genres too (and can sing along). You get cardio, muscle toning, balance and boosted energy in one class.
There are many other reasons that I love this form of exercise – here are a few reasons you need to try Zumba too.
1. You’re exercising without really realizing that you’re exercising! It’s true – I get so wrapped up in the music and following the dance moves that I often forget I’m in an exercise class. My sister, who admittedly hates exercising, loves attending Zumba classes.
2. Everyone can do it! There is a basic count/beat that helps you work at your pace and ability. The instructor is in front of the class giving non-verbal signals so you can follow along. I modify some moves due to the titanium rod in my leg and see many others modify for various reasons. Whether you are in shape or not, trying to lose weight, or any age, you can try Zumba. There is also a Zumba Gold program that offers modified moves at a lower intensity.
3. Music. It’s upbeat and fast. The classes I attend incorporate some Latin inspired songs but mostly use popular mainstream music. Pitbull, Black-Eyed Peas, Flo Rida, Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, just to name a few. I love these songs as I can find a beat as we learn new dance moves, plus singing along helps lose myself to having fun. My biggest worry is that one day the music will suddenly stop and everyone will hear me singing!
4. You become part of a community. I love women and having girlfriends. But let’s face it, women aren’t always nice to each other. We judge, gossip and sometimes compete with even our friends. I don’t know why we do this but it’s been going on for centuries. I’ve found Zumba classes to be one of the few activities where most of the participants are women and the cattiness is non-existent (or at least I haven’t witnessed it). Women are friendly, supportive and have FUN together. I’ve made new friends, and love seeing familiar faces and happily welcome newcomers to the class.
5. There is great satisfaction in leaving tired and sweaty after a fun workout. Zumba International’s motto is ‘ditch the workout, enjoy the party.’
Photo credit: © Luckybusiness | Dreamstime.com – People Dancing Energetic In Gym Fitness Class Photo