Back in the 1990s, in a fortuitous incident, dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez forgot his regular music for an aerobics class. He whipped out the only thing he had: tapes (you remember what tapes are, right?) of salsa and merengue from his car, and the rest, as they say, is history. From a happy accident, Zumba Fitness is now a multi-million business—complete with workout videos, apparel, a video game—and is practiced in 175 countries around the world.
So what is it about this fitness craze? Why did Beto’s students immediately embrace the workout? Why are Zumba classes at the gym always so full? And why is everyone, from your BFFs to your titas and her amigas, so wildly obsessed with it? Let’s dive in!
WHAT ZUMBA IS
Zumba is one of the most popular group exercises in the world. It’s a high-energy dance workout led by a certified instructor, with choreography set to Latin music. Zumba incorporates different dance styles such as salsa, hip hop, flamenco, and tango. Because it’s so rooted in dance, it doesn’t feel like exercise. The Zumba tagline says exactly this: “Ditch the workout. Join the party.”
There are different variations of Zumba classes, which allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy while reaching their fitness goals. A class typically lasts for 60 minutes, sometimes 90. While it’s not your CrossFit or bootcamp classes when it comes to building strength and gains, Zumba has tons of benefits! Here are some compelling reasons why you should mix it in your fitness routine:
THE BENEFITS OF ZUMBA
1. It’s good for your heart. Aerobic exercises like Zumba keep your heart rate up, pumping oxygen-rich blood in your body and strengthening your heart and lungs. These cardio workouts can also lower risk of heart disease and reduce blood pressure. Plus, it’s definitely more fun than your treadmill or stationary bike.
2. It torches calories. Depending on the intensity of your Zumba class, an average person can burn 600-1,000 calories in one session! Zumba is designed to combine aerobic activity with interval training, where you alternate between a series of high- and low-intensity periods—which is proven as one of the best ways to burn body fat.
3. It tones your entire body. You might not know it, but Zumba engages so many different muscle groups! As you dance, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of moves you see in traditional workout videos. This workout-in-disguise will make you lunge, jump, and squat, working your quads and hamstrings. It’s also great for strengthening your core—you know from Shakira that Latin music puts your hips to work!
4. It improves posture, flexibility and coordination. When you work out regularly, you accustom your joints and muscles to new movements and stretches, improving range of motion and posture. Coordination is also a huge plus: Zumba helps keep your body young. This is a huge benefit especially as you grow older, which is probably why senior citizens are crazy about Zumba, too!
5. It puts you in a better mood. As with all exercise, Zumba activates all those feel-good hormones: endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. Do it in the morning for an energy boost, or book a class in the evening to de-stress and dance your worries away after a long day.
6. It’s fun. The mix of social interaction, infectious music, and energetic atmosphere all come together for a truly enjoyable time. And if you enjoy something, it’s so much easier to sustain your workout habitthe key to any fitness routine.
Ready to get started? Zumba may be a great program for beginners, but don’t take it too lightly. Traditional Zumba can be strenuous and high-impact. Inform your instructor if it’s your first time, and make sure to consult your GP if you’re pregnant, with an injury, or recently had any cardiovascular concern. The beauty of this program is that it can be adapted to any fitness level. If you’re new, there’s nothing wrong with pacing yourself!
Your nearest gym most likely offers Zumba classes, but there’s nothing stopping you from trying it out at home. YouTube is an amazing resource for at-home practitioners. (We like this, this, and this!) You don’t equipment, just well-cushioned footwear that allow free movement. Pair your kicks with comfy socks like the Biofresh Micro Air Compression Socks, which prevent cramps and minimize muscle fatigue. You’ll be moving muscles you don’t even know you had, so this is so important!
But when you do decide to try a class, go by all means. The awesome community is a big part of the Zumba appeal. Just don’t forget to bring a towel to stay fresh (we recommend the super-absorbent, super-compact Towelite Sports Towel), and hydrated! The Cocoon Insulated Water Bottle will keep your water cold for 24 hours and comes in gorgeous colors such as Rose Gold, Matte Black, and Bubble Pink.
So go on, slip on your dancing shoes and put your hair up in a pony! It won’t take you a session to see why this workout has become so beloved all over the world. Zumba enthusiasts claim there is no right way to do it, so just move to the beat and enjoy!
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