No Standing, Only Dancing
Feel the beat and move your feet with Zumba.
- Written byNicole Young
If you’re looking for a workout class that incorporates a fun club atmosphere and gets you off a bike, Zumba is for you. After watching Dancing with the Stars you’re like, “OK, I need to find a dance workout class ASAP.” It’s a little nerve-wracking because as with attending most dance classes for the first time, you (1) don’t know any of the choreography, (2) think you will be awkward with your two left feet or (3) your inner Beyoncé might come out and command the entire class. After considering #3, you decide there is no chance that you are backing out of this.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout that uses music and choreographed steps to form a fitness party atmosphere. While many of the dances and music are Latin American-inspired, classes may also play country and hip-hop and pop.
Is it a good workout?
For sure! You’re basically moving nonstop for the entire hour with a few short breaks for water. You can burn up to 250 calories in 30 minutes just by dancing. Some instructors even concentrate the last five minutes on stretching and breathing. Dancing isn’t just an exercise and weight loss kind of thing; it can boost your brainpower, improve your mood and increase your social circle.
Do you have to be a dancer?
Absolutely not. The moves are repetitive and much more focused on cardio rather than dance choreography. You can be awkward, and it will be fine. Plus everyone is either staring at the instructor or themselves in the mirror, so no one will really see you.
Are you going to be sore the next day?
Maybe. Zumba incorporates a lot of arm movement and leg lunges, so after your first or second class you may feel it. However, once you master those Shakira moves, your hips definitely won’t lie.
You may walk into a Zumba class thinking the music will be super Miami-focused, so there will be a lot of Pitbull. Dale. But in reality the music is upbeat and motivating. In my classes, I play music that is decades old to more current stuff like Jennifer Lopez. That way people of all ages are able to enjoy the class.
How in shape do you have to be?
Zumba is great because you can take this class at your own pace. I have people in my class who don’t even follow my moves; they create their own. The best part is that they are having fun!
So is Zumba the only dance workout there is?
Of course not! The beauty of dance is that there are so many kinds to choose from. I suggest trying any of these classes (at a gym or studio, with a DVD at home or Friday night at the bar with your friends):
Line dancing: It’s not all about country. Modern classes include tunes like hip-hop and R&B. Generally, the choreography is easy to follow and very repetitive.
Swing: Now for this you would need a partner. Along with the high-energy music, swing dancing helps trigger a rush of mood-elevating hormones in your body.
Pole dancing: Yes, I’m serious. This is great for strength. Most types of dance are good at toning your lower body, but pole dancing gives you added upper-body and arm strength.
So next time you feel that urge to fist pump and shake those hips, get to your local Zumba class and dance. And remember that dancing to your own rhythm is common; it happens to everyone, and it’s not a big deal. You don’t watch a dance class, you DANCE a dance class!