Zumba Dance

Dance and Exercise: A Perfect Combination

Zumba
Ionathan Sardo/Flickr

Zumba is a popular fitness program inspired by Latin dance. Zumba is a registered trademark for the dance classes developed by Alberto "Beto" Perez, a Colombian dancer and choreographer, as a way to turn a fitness class into a dance party. Zumba dancers move fastĀ and have fun while getting exercise and burning calories. Using upbeat Latin music together with cardiovascular exercise, Zumba is aerobic dancing that is lots of fun and easy to learn.

Zumba classes are offered at health clubs and by Zumba Fitness instructors in many different venues. There are also videos, DVDs, and video game versions. There are many different levels of Zumba classes, including those for children and seniors.

Is Zumba Good for Weight Loss?

Zumba seems to be an optimal fitness choice, mixing cardio intervals with resistance training. Many experts believe that an interval/resistance combination maximizes caloric output, fat burning, and total body toning. Zumba mixes effective body sculpting movements with easy-to-follow, fun dance steps. People seem to forget about working out during a Zumba session, allowing them to exercise longer, and burn even more calories.

What's a Zumba Class Like?

A typical Zumba session lasts about an hour and incorporates several dance styles, including cumbia, merengue, salsa, reggaeton, mambo, rumba, flamenco, and calypso and Salsaton.

The Latin music includes both fast and slow rhythms, allowing for a great cardio workout as well as body sculpting exercises. Depending on the instructor, you may even get a taste of belly dancing or hip-hop dancing, too.

Is Zumba for Me?

If you enjoy high energy, motivating music, and like to try unique moves and combinations, Zumba may be your ticket to fitness.

With thousands of Zumba instructors worldwide, locating a Zumba class should be easy. A single Zumba session costs around $10 to $15. If you'd rather stay home and exercise, DVD's and videos are also available for purchase.

Zumba Variations

Zumba continues to develop different classes that will benefit different age groups and abilities. Here are some of the variations:

  • Zumba Gold: Geared toward active older adults, it has easy-to-follow choreography that beginners of any age may also appreciate. It focuses on balance, range of motion, and coordination at a lower intensity. A Gold-Toning class also includes strength training exercises.
  • Zumba Kids, Zumba Kids Jr., and Zumbini: The Jr. classes are for kids age 4 to 6 years old and the Kids classes for ages 7 to 11. They use kid-friendly steps and routines. Zumbini is for ages 0 to three and their caregivers.
  • STRONG by Zumba: Uses body weight exercises for a total body workout in sync with the music.
  • Zumba Step: Incorporates step aerobics as well as the Zumba dancing moves.
  • Zumba Toning: Light weights or Zumba toning sticks, which are shaped like maracas, are used for muscle toning during the dance moves.
  • Aqua Zumba: Uses water resistance in a pool for a lower-impact Zumba dance pool party.
  • Zumba Sentao: A high-intensity variation using a chair as your dance partner without having to lift weights.