“Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.” ~Samuel Beckett
I love this quote, because dancing to me truly is about shutting down our racing minds and allowing oneself to let go, expressing whatever we want to express through our body. So, today I wanted to talk a bit about dance, Zumba to be exact. Zumba is a form of dance, and it’s a great form of exercise too!
Regular strength and cardiovascular training is necessary for optimal health and disease prevention. Cooper Institute, world renowned institution dedicated to preventive medicine, recommends strength training 2 times week and cardiovascular training 5 times a week (30 minutes/day or 150 minutes/week of moderate activity). It might be difficult to follow these recommendations in this busy world… no, I’m not about to make an excuse for not exercising, I’m just stating a challenge that all of us face in out lives. One way to increase your “adherence” to exercise is to work with a Personal Trainer who will prepare strength workouts and make adjustments based on your needs and progress. Working with a Trainer saves time (you don’t have to make your workouts and wonder if you’ll get the results you want), but what about those cardio sessions? They can be challenging because of the lack of variety, unlike lifting weights with a trainer who can make each session different and interesting.
One way to spice up your cardio training is to dance! Contrary to popular belief dance can be a great cardiovascular workout, if continuous and fast paced. No wonder then, that Zumba has been one of the most popular fitness trends of the recent years. Since I’m not a zumba expert, I decided to interview Lauren McGuire, our wonderful Zumba instructor. If you had questions or were thinking about trying Zumba, read below what Lauren had to say about it:
- What is your definition of Zumba?
I’ve heard it said that Zumba is the most fun you can have with your clothes on, however, my husband would say that skydiving is really the most fun you can have with your clothes on, so I think a more thorough definition would be helpful.
Zumba is a dance-fitness class with particular emphasis on Latin dance steps such as cumbia, salsa, merengue, and reggaeton done to songs of international flavor. In addition, there are sometimes hip-hop, pop or other styles thrown in as well.
- I have two left feet and no rhythm. Does it make sense to even try Zumba?
Zumba is not about following the steps perfectly. I always tell my class that as long as they’re moving, that’s all that counts. Zumba is truly about moving and having fun, so no, you don’t have to have a dance background or even be a good dancer to join the party.
- Everyone seems to think that Zumba is fun. That’s great, but will I actually burn calories? If so, how many?
This is exactly why Zumba is so popular. It is tons of fun AND you burn calories in the process. It’s a win-win situation.
The number of calories burned will depend on how much you put into your dance moves as well as the challenge of the dances themselves. In a typical class, I would say you could burn between 500-800 calories.
- What should I wear to class?
The only requirement is to wear clothing you can move in. From there, you can get as creative as you want. There is actually an entire line of Zumba clothing and shoes at zumba.com with an emphasis on wild, bright colors and fun, funky styles. A lot of people also like to wear the wraps that jingle when they move, which makes dancing even more fun. Bottom line, though, is to wear comfortable clothes you can move in.
- What about my age? Is Zumba not recommended for any age groups?
Zumba is truly for ALL ages. Currently we do the basic Zumba class, but there are several types of Zumba. Zumba Gold is focused on the older population and ZumbAtomic is for kids. There is also Zumba Toning done with weights and Aqua Zumba done in the pool, so there is a class for everyone.
- What are the benefits of Zumba?
In my opinion, the biggest benefit is that Zumba is so much fun. Zumba’s slogan, “ditch the workout and join the party” really sums it up. If a person dreads whatever physical activity they’re doing, they are much less likely to stick with it versus something they see as fun and exciting.
In addition, Zumba provides a cardio-based workout incorporating resistance training to create a total body workout.
- Why should I try Zumba?
- It’s a blast! Basically like exercise in disguise.
- It’s easy in the sense that everyone can do it regardless of fitness level or background.
- And it’s effective! In all the fun, you don’t even realize you’re exercising.