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Zumba

Zumba fuses aerobic movements with musical beats like salsa and meringue.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: August 15, 2012

Invented by Columbian fitness instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez, Zumba is an energetic workout regimen fusing aerobic movements with musical beats, like salsa and merengue.

Though Zumba initially launched as a series of DVDs, it has since expanded greatly. Today, Zumba is taught in gyms as well as independent Zumba studios all over the world.

  • Zumba This is the most traditional Zumba class, where participants are instructed to follow basic steps belonging to Latin and international types of dance, like salsa, reggae, belly dancing, waltzing, samba, tango, merengue and the foxtrot. Zumba is a cardiovascular workout, relying on intricate, fast-paced footwork to increase its participants’ heart rate.
  • Zumba Gold Zumba Gold is aimed at a mature adult population, specifically baby boomers. The workout features modified movements for older participants, making the workout safer.
  • Zumba Toning Zumba Toning is intended to sculpt the arms, abs, glutes, and thighs. In keeping with the festive atmosphere typical of Zumba classes, Zumba Toning makes use of light, maraca-shaped weights—“Zumba Toning Sticks”—to increase the calories burned and to add an element of strength training to an otherwise cardiovascular routine.
  • Aqua Zumba Aqua Zumba is similar to water aerobics. With its inclusion of upbeat, Latin-inspired music, Aqua Zumba has been described as more of a “pool party” than an exercise class, combining swift movements like splashing, stretching and twisting to work out the body. Participants should be at least 14 years old.
  • Zumbatomic Zumbatomic is designed to introduce tots and tweens (aged four to 12) to fitness in an entertaining way. Kid-friendly movements are set to familiar hip-hop and reggae beats, which helps them to build both coordination and discipline.
  • Zumba in the Circuit The shortest of the classes, Zumba in the Circuit is a 30-minute routine that packs in intense circuit training and strength exercises, which are completed in timed intervals. Keeping in line with the Zumba ethos, participants move from station to station while dancing to Zumba-approved music.

Benefits of Zumba: The 60-minute workouts (except for Zumba Circuit, which lasts 30 minutes) are part dance and part exercise, incorporating bodily movements like hip gyrating, arm swinging, leg pumping and hand clapping, all of which result in a vigorous cardio workout.

Regular Zumba workouts can result in increased stamina and weight loss.

Who Zumba is best for: There are six types of Zumba classes—Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba, Zumbatomic, and Zumba in the Circuit—but all of them have one thing in common: Participants shimmy and shake their bodies quickly (“Zumba” is Columbian slang for “fast”) to increase their heart rate.

While classes like Zumba Gold are aimed at a mature adult population, others are more universal.

Getting ready: Wear cross trainers, which provide adequate cushioning and lateral support making it possible to easily shift from side-to-side while Zumba-ing. Avoid heavy running shoes, as their soles are designed for traction and forward movement.

Calories burned: A Zumba class can burn 400 to 800 calories. The number of calories burned will be different for each dancer, depending on their individual height, weight and metabolism.

Celebrity Devotees

Which celebrities have joined the party? Independence Day star Vivica A. Fox and model-turned-actress Stacy Keibler have been known to shake their booties through Zumba classes. American Idol Jordin Sparks also attributed her new and improved figure to Zumba.

Risks

Inadequate shoes can lead to twisted ankles and muscle injuries. Blisters are a common complaint as well, especially when a participants sneakers are not built for shock absorption.

Who shouldn't do it: Be sure to sign up for a Zumba class that best suits your capabilities. Children ages four to 12 should partake in Zumbatonic, while Zumba Gold is aimed at the 50 and older crowd. Zumba Aqua is said to be rehabilitative. Women who are pregnant may need to modify the speed at which they Zumba.

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