Whenever I mention my favorite exercise to people, they usually answer, “Yeah I’ve heard of it”, and oftentimes that’s followed by a personal admission, “but I don’t have any rhythm.”
What the rhythmless don’t realize is having good dance moves is unnecessary to enjoy Zumba . After all, the friend who introduced me to it was about as graceful as Michael Moore figure skating. She was a sight to behold; off-beat, running in place like the girl from Flashdance and sporting a terry cloth headband.
If I had to describe Zumba using only a handful of words, I’d say it’s a workout where you basically dance non-stop for a whole hour. It’s kind of like a Latin Jazzercise , but fun.
In a typical Zumba class you will enjoy Latin music such as Bachata, Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia. Most classes fuse these styles with genres like Dance Hall, Hip Hop, and Pop. Pretty much anything with a good beat is fair game. One of my instructors even throws in Country and Show Tunes.
One of the best things about Zumba is how easy it is to get started, a good pair of Zumba shoes, some comfortable pants and you are ready to go! If you are nervous about being a beginner, practice at home with a Zumba DVD.
The benefits of this workout are many. Clearly I’m I big proponent, and with good reason. How do I love Zumba?
Let me give you 9 reasons:
- It’s never boring. Compare dancing for an hour with the mind-numbing repetition of the elliptical.
- No one judges. Can’t get that salsa step down? Who cares. You’re a little (or a lot) chunky? No one notices.
- It burns a ton of calories.
- Move at your own pace. You can shake your booty hard for intense cardio; or if you feel a bit lazy you can slack when the instructor looks at the other side of the room.
- It tones. Zumba is excellent for the core muscles, as it involves a lot of hip, lower back, and abdominal movement. Squats strengthen the thighs. Dancing on the balls of your feet sculpts definition into your calves. Some classes incorporate weights to tone the upper body.
- It fits into your busy schedule. Zumba has become so popular that in most areas you will have a variety of class times from which to choose.
- It boosts your mood. An hour of Zumba leaves you feeling energized and relaxed simultaneously.
- Anyone can participate. Zumba tends to attract women, though it is by no means exclusive to one gender. In fact, my best instructors have been male. Zumba Gold classes cater to Seniors. As aforementioned, those focused on toning can find classes that incorporate weights.
- It’s sensual. There’s something about that Latin beat. You may leave class thinking you’re sexier than you are. That could be good or bad, depending.
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