In 180 countries across the world, there are more than 200,000 class locations for the workout craze known as Zumba. If you have a hard time getting motivated for workouts, you might find that this fun and high-energy fitness class is the perfect fit.
There are numerous health benefits to dancing, including both mental and physical benefits. Participating in aerobic activity can help you manage chronic conditions, reduce your health risks, and keep you fit. Zumba combines both dancing and aerobics to create a powerhouse of a workout.
Are you wondering what Zumba is and whether it's right for you?
Let's take a look at what you need to know.
What Is Zumba Dance?
Zumba is a workout that often feels more like a dance party. The largest branded fitness program on the planet, there's a good chance that your local gym or fitness studio offers Zumba classes. During these exercise classes, participants engage in a Latin-inspired dance workout while listening to upbeat music and engaging in high-energy movements.
History of Zumba
Zumba was initially created in the 1990s. Alberto "Beto" Perez founded Zumba Fitness, LLC in 2001. The origin of this dance workout is actually owed to an accident when Perez forgot to bring his regular music to the aerobics classes he taught. He instead used merengue and salsa music that he happened to have with him.
Zumba was officially launched as a series of fitness videos that were sold through infomercials. As of 2015, there were fourteen million people practicing Zumba across 186 countries.
What Are the Benefits of Zumba?
One of the reasons that Zumba has become such a popular style of workout is because it has a number of health benefits without being as tedious and grueling as other types of fitness. Let's take a look at some of the ways Zumba can improve your health.
One study from 2012 found that the average person burns 369 calories during a typical Zumba class. Health experts often recommend that people burn 300 calories per workout to help with weight loss and keep their body weight at a healthy level.
Tones Entire Body
Zumba is a combination of aerobics and Latin dancing. There's really no wrong way to do it, meaning that as long as you keep moving to the beat of the music you are getting exercise.
Unlike other exercises that target specific muscles or parts of the body, Zumba involves moving the entire body. This means that you're getting a full-body workout all while having a great time.
Boosts Your Heart Health
When you participate in Zumba classes, you get aerobic benefits (meaning that it increases your heart rate.) However, you also end up getting anaerobic benefits, both of which help you maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Another great exercise for heart health is biking. You can learn more about the benefits of biking here.
When you first start practicing Zumba, you might feel like you lack the coordination for it. However, over time, you will find that it gets easier and easier to move your body in complex ways. Improving your coordination can help you out in other areas of life including a number of everyday tasks.
Helps You De-Stress
Stress has been linked to a number of serious chronic health conditions. We are increasingly learning how important it is to manage stress and keep stress levels low. Getting exercise is an awesome way to relieve stress and you'll soon notice that you feel lighter and more relaxed after your Zumba classes.
Makes You Happy
Exercise is one of the best mood enhancers out there. Your brain releases endorphins when you exercise which trigger positive feelings and boost your mood.
Different Types of Zumba Classes
Zumba classes are accessible to people of all ages and dance abilities. Since it's inception, a number of different types of Zumba programs have been added by the brand to make the exercise even more accessible.
This is the original and most well-known Zumba class. It involves low-intensity and high-intensity intervals that help to improve cardiovascular fitness as well as enhance agility, balance, and coordination.
Zumba Step is similar to the original Zumba as it has the same Latin-inspired dance choreography. However, there is also an additional aerobic step to make the workout more intense and further strengthen the legs.
This type of Zumba incorporates light weights to traditional Zumba routines. This adds strength training into the mix to help keep you toned.
Aqua Zumba is great for people who need low-impact exercise or who have lower-extremity injuries. In these classes, you can practice Zumba routines in a pool.
This type of Zumba incorporates a chair as a "dance partner." This helps you improve your core strength without using weights.
Zumba Gold is a program designed specifically for older adults. This lower-intensity version of the original Zumba was designed to meet the needs of seniors.
This is a lower-intensity Zumba Toning class intended for older adults.
Even your kids can get in on the Zumba craze! This program was designed for children between the ages of seven and eleven. Games and activities are added to keep everyone engaged while they exercise.
Zumba Kids Jr.
This is the second Zumba for kids program. Zumba Kids Jr. is designed for four to six year-olds.
Even the youngest members of your family can participate in Zumba. Designed for children between 0 and 3, this is a great way for caregivers and little ones to bond and play.
Zumba in the Circuit
This class incorporates strength training exercises in a circuit with Zumba dance moves. This can help improve muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness.
How to Prepare for Your First Zumba Class
There are now Zumba classes for people of all ages and abilities. However, there are a few things you'll want to do in order to prepare for your first Zumba class.
Wear the Right Clothes and Shoes
You do not need specific dance sneakers for your first class. However, you'll want to choose shoes that have the thinnest sole and the most basic tread pattern. Traditional running shoes don't accommodate the side-to-side movement and pivoting incorporated in Zumba classes.
As far as clothes go, you'll want to wear the same type of fitness clothing you'd wear for any workout. For women, you'll want to wear a sports bra, an athletic T-shirt or a tank top, and leggings. Men can wear t-shirts or tank tops and running shorts.
Find the Right Class and Instructor for You
To choose the right class and instructor, you'll want to think about your ability and what you're looking for. If you are an older adult, you might choose Zumba Gold or Zumba Gold-Toning. If you're simply looking for a good aerobic workout, you might be interested in the classic Zumba classes.
Finding the right instructor is important to motivate your workouts. Consider trying a few different instructors to decide the best fit for you.
Warm Up and Modify the Choreography as Needed
Zumba classes typically start with a slower warm-up song before building in intensity. You don't need anything other than a positive attitude to participate in Zumba, and you can modify the choreography as needed for your skill level.
Risks of Zumba
There are a few safety concerns when it comes to Zumba even though it is considered a generally safe fitness activity. You'll want to talk to your doctor before trying Zumba if you have a history of ankle or knee problems or if you have a known lower-extremity injury.
You also don't want to push yourself too hard if you're new to dance choreography. Go at your own pace and be patient when it comes to mastering the moves. If you overdo it, it can lead to an increased risk of injury.
Dancing Your Way to a Healthier Life with Zumba
Participating in Zumba classes can be a great way to improve your health without the arduousness of more traditional workouts. With different programs available to accommodate different ages and skill levels, there really is a Zumba class out there for everyone.
Are you working towards building a health system that works for your life? Whether or not you decide Zumba classes are right for you, having the right health insurance can go a long way towards your physical and mental wellness. Check out our health insurance options here.