Bored with your workout? Consider dancing your way to fitness with Zumba

Not many people know this about me, but I’ve always loved to dance. When I was a kid, I would play my brother’s Jackson Five records on my red and white phonograph and get my little groove on in my bedroom.

So when the Zumba craze hit Hawaii, I was definitely interested. I took my first class about three years ago and I’m still hooked.

Let me tell you about Zumba, in case you’re a hermit who’s not familiar with this dance fitness program.

pic1Zumba mixes aerobic exercise with dance. Latin dance is the primary influence, but you’ll find elements of hip-hop and martial arts, as well as dance moves from Africa and India.

Classes are high-energy parties, filled with participants wearing bright workout clothes and occasionally whooping it up when doing a particularly sexy or energetic move.

Zumba has also become the exercise class for the masses; the average cost for a one-hour class is $5 and there’s no fancy equipment or gym membership required. You’ll find classes in school cafeterias, churches, conference rooms, courtyards, grassy fields – anywhere there’s an open space to move around.

I sometimes encounter people who are afraid to take Zumba because they’re worried about being uncoordinated or not fit enough. Believe me, these classes are filled with people of all shapes, ages, and sizes. Sure, not everyone is graceful or coordinated, but they’re having fun and getting a good workout. That’s the important thing.

pic2Whatever your fitness goals and abilities are, there’s probably a Zumba class for you. There are classes for kids, classes in the swimming pool, and classes for older people or for those who want more toning exercises.

I recently attended my first Zumbathon, which is an event usually held to raise money for a charitable cause. Instead of the typical one-hour class, Zumbathons can go on for hours. And instead of one instructor, several take turns leading exercise routines. Participants can take a break whenever they need one, then jump back in after taking a breather or a drink of water. Aside from being an extended exercise session, Zumbathons are great because you feed off the energy of hundreds of participants, plus you can “sample” other instructors without going to their regular classes. I had a great time!

Like any exercise, Zumba may not be for everyone. But I love it because it’s fun, affordable, filled with great music, burns lots of calories, and best of all – I get to dance.

2 comments

  • My wife mixes her workout by doing Zumba one day, then a “Dance Off The Inches: Dance It Off Ballroom” session the next. It helps her get fit while doing what she likes – ballroom dance. She also says that the Dance It Off Ballroom is a harder workout than Zumba.

    If you’re not into ballroom dance, the Dance Off The Inches series also includes Latin, Hip Hop, Country Line Dance, Salsa, and Belly Dancing.

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  • Also, if you’re interested in exploring ballroom dance more, check out the Hawaii Ballroom Dance Association: http://www.hbda-hawaii.org/

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