Are you sick of the monotonous gym workout, bored of pounding the pavement each morning or hitting the pool for aqua aerobics twice a week? Zumba is the latest fitness craze to sweep not only the nation but literally the whole world!
Do you fancy ditching your running trainers, your swimming costume and instead hitting the gym to swivel your hips like Shakira and shake your booty like Jenny from the block whilst dancing to a Latino beat?
Every week 14 million people take Zumba classes in over 140,000 locations in around 150 countries! That’s a lot of dancing! But where did it all begin?
Alberto ‘Beto’ Perez
Zumba was unintentionally created by Perez way back in the 1990’s. Back then Perez was a fitness instructor in Columbia. One day he was scheduled to teach a dance aerobics class but he’d forgotten his usual music. Undeterred, Perez popped his merengue and salsa CDs into the boom box and instead taught his class a Latin-based dance routine.
Aside from being born out of forgetfulness, the Zumba classes grew in popularity, steadily building momentum to the point where Perez decided to take Zumba to the streets of Miami. He joined forces with two founders, Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion.
In 2001 they established their businesses and created a series of Zumba DVD’s with the aim to reach a wider audience. The plan worked and it wasn’t long before the trio opened the Zumba academy where they trained and produced licensed instructors who would go on to teach their own classes. They also designed and created official Zumbawear and compiled branded music mixes. Since then the Zumba craze has literally exploded all over the world entering every corner of the earth – even Antarctica.
So What’s the Big Deal?
Zumba has transformed the fitness regime of millions; no longer do you have to jog on a treadmill for hours on end staring at the cream wall in the corner of your gym. Zumba is enjoyable, fast paced and the best part… you can get fit the fun way!
The dance workout in a Zumba class combines resistance training in fast and slow intervals, this may not sound like much but the change in pace keeps your body confused allowing you to burn more calories, increasing fat burn and helping you sculpt those muscles.
So Are There Any Benefits Aside from the Fun and Fat Burning?
Yes there is!
Zumba helps to improve your coordination; it allows your body to function better giving you more control over your body and your muscles, teaching them how to move. Zumba may not turn you into a prima ballerina but it will stop you being that one person in your step or aerobics class moving in the opposite direction to everyone else!
Full Body Workout:
Many gym classes will only offer you exercises that focus on specific areas like ‘Legs, Bums and Tums’ however Zumba works all your muscles providing your core with an intensive workout.
Mental Clarity and Happy Hormones:
Zumba will not only give your body a good workout, your brain will get one too. Zumba isn’t one of those workouts where you feel like you’re being punished, it’s fun and exhilarating leaving you feeling happy and energised.
You’ve Converted Me, What Shall I Wear?
Whatever exercise you’re partaking in its essential you wear the right clothes. A sports bra as well as comfortable, soft trainers are a must! If you’re not keen on wearing those tight sweat wicking shorts get yourself a comfy pair of dance pants which will allow you to move easily.
You’re going to get hot and sweaty so a loose fitting t-shirt or a sports top would be best, these will help keep you cool while still allowing you to complete those upper body moves with ease.
If you’ve been tempted to jump on the Zumba bandwagon you can guarantee there are several Zumba classes going on in your local area every week so check them out and see how many classes it takes before you’re hooked!
This post was written by Meredith Watts, a Zumba fanatic who has founda a great site to buy all her dance gear from, called, appropriately enough, Dance & Leisurewear.