What Is Zumba: A Guide to the Latin-Dance Workout
What is Zumba? If you've stepped foot inside a gym any time in the past 10 years, you likely have some idea. Even if you've never signed up for the energetic dance-fitness class, you've likely heard the pulsating beats of its soundtrack emanating from the group-fitness corner of your local club. Put simply, Zumba is just an aerobic workout, one that's attracted a huge fan base that has led it to rival the Jazzercise and Tae Bo crazes of decades past. But what is it exactly? Read on for our comprehensive guide to this fun and spicy workout.
What is Zumba?
Zumba is a style of aerobic workout, but rather than focusing just on basic step-taps and kicks, it incorporates techniques borrowed from Latin dance styles, such as samba, salsa, and merengue. It was invented by a Colombian dancer, Alberto Perez, in the 1990s.
One of the most popular aspects of a Zumba workout is its energetic soundtrack, which blends Latin American hits with hip-hop and pop songs. But many devotees also like that it incorporates toning moves like squats and lunges in addition to the dance steps.
How many calories does Zumba burn?
Like all workouts, the number of calories burned during a Zumba class depends on how much you weigh, what your current fitness level is, and how much energy you put forth. Typically, class attendees can expect to burn between 500 and 1,000 calories in an hour-long Zumba class.
What are the benefits of Zumba?
The calorie-burning potential of Zumba makes it a great option for those looking to shed extra pounds, but the dance moves are also great for improving coordination, endurance, and flexibility. The high-energy atmosphere and social aspect of Zumba can also be a benefit to new or reluctant exercisers, since it's easier to stick with a workout routine when you're having fun.
Zumba's popularity has also spawned a number of variations on the classic workout that are great for those focusing in on a particular benefit, or those who want to challenge themselves. Zumba Toning, for example, adds light weights to the workout to help build muscle, while Zumba Sentao focuses on core work. You'll even find aquatic Zumba, Zumba classes for kids, and Zumba workouts tailored to older adults.
How much do Zumba classes cost?
That depends. If your gym membership includes free classes and offers Zumba on its schedule, you might be able to take a class for nothing at all! In most cases, though, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 and $20 per class, or possibly less if you purchase a class package.
What if I can't dance?
No problem! The moves in a Zumba class are dance-inspired, but most people who take a Zumba class aren't professional dancers, and the routines are tailored to appeal to exercisers of all experience levels and ages.
That being said, Zumba routines move fast, so don't be surprised if you find yourself getting lost in your first class. The steps and moves will get more familiar with practice, so try to commit to at least a few sessions before throwing in the towel. There's likely to be at least a few people in class who are new to the workout, so you won't be the only one struggling to tell your "cumbia" from your "salsa." Just stick with it and you'll be zumba-ing like a pro in no time.
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