Tuesday, January 18, 2011

All about Zumba

While I am training for a marathon right now, and a lot of my focus is on running, I am also a Zumba instructor.  So, I thought for today's post I'd tell those of you who are unfamiliar with Zumba all about this great new form of exercise. 

I started taking Zumba as a way to cross-train for marathoning last year and I quickly fell in love with the Latin dance-inspired movements.  Back when I was teaching swing dance in the early 2000s, I learned a lot of other ballroom dances at the same time, including salsa, cha-cha and merengue.  Me and my swing dance friends would go out to local bars for their salsa nights, which were gaining in popularity.  When I gained weight, I all but gave up on dancing, so when Zumba and I met in January 2010, I was hooked.

But I sure wasn't the only one who became crazy about Zumba.  Today, according to Zumba.com, more than 10 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages take weekly Zumba classes in over 90,000 locations across more than 110 countries. So how did this whole Zumba thing get started?

At my instructor training in July 2010, we learned about Alberto "Beto" Perez (founder of Zumba... and the guy from the infomercials).  He was an accomplished dancer and choreographer in Columbia, and also worked as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  One day in the 1990s, he had forgotten his music for one of his aerobics classes, and improvised by using a Latin music cassette tape instead.  And from there, Zumba took off. 

Here are a few things you may not know about Zumba:

1. A typical Zumba class is about an hour long, including a warm up and cool down.  However, there are lots of new ways to enjoy Zumba now, including Aqua Zumba (Zumba water aerobics), Zumba Toning (Zumba with strength training), Zumba Gold (a lower-impact version of Zumba for seniors), and Zumba in the Circuit, which is a new program offered by Curves (which I teach locally on Tuesday and Thursday evenings).  The Circuit program involves switching between strength training machines and doing Zumba, and is offered in 28-minute classes.

2. While Zumba's four basic rythyms of salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaeton all originated in Central and South America, since the program has become popular all over the world, the music and dance moves have also expanded globally as well.  My music and dances include calypso from the Carribean, Bhangra, belly dancing and Bollywood from India, African beats, and even some hip-hop and pop from right here in the USA. 

3. Zumba is designed as an intermittent training workout, which means that it incorporates aerobic training, muscle fitness and interval training.  The benefit of this type of training is that you are getting a total body workout, rather than you would if you were just doing cardio or lifting weights.  I've talked about the benefits of both cardio and weight training before.  I've also touched on the benefits of interval training in past posts.  The great thing about Zumba is that with the intermittent training, you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour! 

If you haven't tried a Zumba class yet, what are you waiting for?  You can check out my class schedule here, or go here to find a class in your area.

1 comment:

mthorn2000 said...