One of my absolute favorite ways to have fun and burn calories is to go to, or TEACH (yes, I used to teach Zumba dance when I used to have time) a Zumba class. Zumba classes range from 45-90 minutes, and include a variety of different latin-based/hip-hop infused dance routines. They are all easy, and easy to follow, and the greatest part of Zumba? If you can’t follow the moves, all instructors should encourage you to just move it.
How Zumba started
Zumba was founded by Alberto “Beto” Perez in the mid-90′s. Beto, an aerobics instructor forgot to bring his usual music to an aerobics class one day, and instead grabbed his own latin-inspired mix tapes and played it during the class. The women (and men) in the class loved the music so much that he continued to use it… and from there began the trend and company later to be called Zumba. Zumba is based on the motto of letting the music move you.
So why else is Zumba so good?
Besides being a fun way to spend an hour (or more), Zumba can burn a lot of calories. Each class is different, some more intense than others; but a moderate intensity Zumba class for a 140 lb woman that lasts for 60 minutes can burn up to 500 calories… however, if you go to a higher-intensity class you may burn around 700 calories. People have recorded burning as much as 1000 calories for a higher intensity, 90-minute class…wow! (It would be good to check the source of this one, but generally you get the point… shake it for an hour= burn lots of calories).
So, what does a typical Zumba class look like?
So often, while I was teaching and even now, I am frequently told by friends that they are embarrassed or afraid of dancing… well I have news for you– the first time you may get a little bit self conscious; but, you will soon realize that everyone in the studio is smiling, laughing, hooting, and having fun, which really helps to make it a relaxed environment.
To show you what a song from a class might look like… here is a video of ME dancing at a Zumba class with one of my favorite Zumba instructors, Lauren Hefez:
See me in the right front corner all black, I appear every now and then! See, looks fun right?
Lauren teaches here in Boston. She teaches Zumba, Barre Burn and a few other classes, visit her website: www.laurenhefez.com for information! She has a lot of great stuff on there too
“There are different kinds to choose from, Gold, Fitness, Basic– how do I choose?”
I certainly hope that this post has made you a little bit more curious about Zumba dance… and has maybe even inspired you to find a class nearby. The easiest way to find a class is to go to the Zumba Fitness website.
Zumba Gold, is a slower paced class. Originally designed for an older population, it basically just has lower impact moves that are good for injuries as well.
Zumba Toning, is dance inspired but focuses on toning, so it will be more toning than dancing. Classes might include light, “maraca-like” Toning sticks that target arms, abs, thighs, glutes.
Aqua Zumba, is a newer addition to the Zumba dance class family. It is Zumba in the pool! Have never tried it but it looks fun.
Zumba Tomic, is Zumba for kids! This is a faster paced, high-energy dance class for kids ages 4-12 that have easy-to-follow dance routines, and kids love these classes. Not only is this class for kids, but families are welcome too.
…Find one that works for you!
Finding a class
Finding a class is super easy to do. Go to the Zumba Fitness website, and across the top bar you will see “Find a Class.” Enter your zip code and the classes in your area will pop up… and voila, all you have to do is go!
The take home
So often we get stuck in the same routine, and frankly that just leads to boredom and believe it or not, your body adapts to the same workout routine over time making it less effective. It is important to listen to your body and what it needs, but it is also important to shake it up (literally). Try new things to keep yourself engaged in your workout routine and most importantly to have balance!
…and for a little fun, here’s another pic of me after Lauren Hefez’s class with water donated by Hint.
…notice me front and center