Why Zumba Is Great For Your Fitness and Health?

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Have you tried joining Zumba classes in your community? Zumba is a widely popular workout program that integrates Latin dance rhythms to offer you with an exciting workout experience.

It is a unique dance program and one that comes with a rich history. The dances are fun to perform and allow you to easily burn tons of calories.

This dance program is associated with the Aerobic & Fitness Association of America as well as other leading fitness organizations. There are workshops available for anyone wishing to become a Zumba instructor.

The Zumba Basic Skills Instructor Training workshops were put into place by many countries around the world including Mexico, Spain, Italy and the UK. To teach senior citizens you would need to take a Zumba Gold workshop.

Instructors in Zumba are first licensed by Zumba Fitness, LLC, and then teach hour-long programs that incorporate both slow and fast rhythms, squats, lunges, and resistance training.

The music mostly used is Latin dance, although there is some hip-hop and other musical styles incorporated into the dance routines.

There are components of both dance and aerobics in this program. Many people use it for weight loss, healthy weight management, heart health, muscle toning and for overall fitness. It can be done by people young and old.

Zumba is very popular, practiced by about 15 million people per week. There are 140,000 licensed and non-licensed sites for you to try Zumba. It is taught in over 185 countries so there is no good excuse not to try this fun and exciting form of exercise.

Basic Information about Zumba

The Origin of Zumba

Zumba was created almost by accident by Alberto (Beto) Perez when he forgot to bring along his normal aerobics tape to an aerobics class he was teaching.

He decided to improvise with music he found in his car—mostly non-traditional merengue and salsa music. He improvised his first class and soon had a large following in his home country of Colombia.

He moved later to the United States in 2001, where he soon met and helped cofound the Zumba movement with two other men, Alberto Aghion and Alberto Perlman.

The team soon sold their program to a company called Fitness Quest. Through Fitness Quest, the Zumba program became licensed and its appeal spread through things like home videos and a string of direct marketing campaigns.

Dance Moves Incorporated into Zumba

A wide variety of dance moves in Zumba has been taken from some of the following dance styles:

  • Soca
  • Hip-hop
  • Merengue
  • Salsa
  • Mambo
  • Samba
Muscles Worked

The dance moves are incorporated into different aerobic moves like lunges and squats.

Besides the obvious benefits of fat burning that comes from the fast-paced cardiovascular workout that leaves you breathless while also strengthening the heart, Zumba also works various muscles groups in the body.

Every single move aims to build strength and lean muscle in moves that are perfectly coordinated to blood pumping music.

Muscle Groups Worked Include:
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • And virtually all the large and small muscle groups of the body
Lunges and Footwork

Zumba incorporates body rolls and hip shakes, along with lunges and intricate footwork, all of which blend together perfectly to comprehensively work the core and lower body muscles.

It is truly a total body aerobic workout. Good for weight loss and good for building lean muscle mass. You will likely see a six-pack peeking through on your core after a few classes.

The movements are easy to follow and classes are particularly designed to accommodate beginners and those more advanced.

If you have never tried Zumba classes then start with a basic class. This will allow you to become familiar with the various songs, the rhythms and the moves of Zumba.

Some basic classes will have you practicing without using any music. This way you can really understand the principal movements first. Then once the music is turned on you will see that you can move to the music more easily.

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If you find the basic level too hard or awkward to do then you can try taking a Zumba Gold class.

This level is designed for the true beginner and for those individuals whose skills are lacking because of inadequate strength and flexibility.

In fact, Zumba Gold is perfect for senior citizens and many who have participated have enjoyed seeing their strength levels and balance return.

The instructors usually customize their classes to suit the participants. Most people enjoy getting used to learning how to move and feel the music at first. Then they take the time to master the dance steps.

During this dance class, you will move from slow to fast paced steps. This allows you to keep your heart rate and your metabolism working at a faster rate.

Zumba is a wonderful workout because it uses interval training along with resistance training. Interval training allows you to burn calories and fat up to three times faster as compared to working out at the same intensity.

It is possible for Zumba dancers to burn anywhere from 400 to 1000 calories during the one-hour dance session.

There is no special clothing needed. Basically, you should wear clothes that are comfortable and breathable. You can wear dance shoes or a gym or tennis shoe. Make sure your shoe allows your foot to move easily especially from side to side.

Compared to other types of fitness activities Zumba is very cost effective. You do not need any fancy fitness clothes to participate.

Many classes are done as workshops lasting for a number of sessions or weeks. This really helps to keep the cost down and you don’t have to pay any expensive yearly memberships.

It is also possible to purchase all types of  DVD’s so you can practice at home in between classes. If you discover that you really enjoy Zumba you can train to become an instructor and lead your own classes!

If aerobic classes just don’t appeal to you then taking a Zumba class may be your ideal choice. You will have fun dancing and meeting people and can attain your goal of getting fit and healthy for life.

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Health and Fitness Benefits of Zumba

Zumba has many benefits including being a great calorie burner. On the average, most classes last for one hour.

It is not uncommon for someone to burn between 400 to 500 calories per class. You should try to attend a workout session 2 to 3 times a week.

While learning Zumba you will notice that your control and balance improves. If you have difficulty with the moves then you should consider taking the Zumba Gold level first.

This is ideal for those who have not exercised in a long time or who have mobility or movement issues.

Older people can enjoy Zumba as well and can attain great benefits from taking a class.

A class will allow you to keep your muscles supple and strong. Plus it will help you to burn extra calories so you don’t gain weight as you age.

Zumba also helps to improve your mental concentration and focus. Many people find that they can do more activities after enrolling in Zumba classes for a few sessions.

Being fit increases the hormones in your body that make you feel good. This has a double effect of increasing your self-confidence and self-esteem. You will find that you are able to relax more and that you can handle stress and anxiety better. Plus just getting out and meeting people is a great social boost.

Zumba classes don’t get boring as there are so many dance tunes and steps to use.

The dance routines keep people going almost nonstop for a fun and entertaining exercise style that rivals many other aerobics class routines.

Other Types of Zumba Programs

Another program derived from the original Zumba program is Zumba Step. This latest Zumba program is primarily titrated to work on the gluteal and leg muscles.

Zumba Toning is also offered, which utilizes toning sticks to help work out the abdominals, thighs, and arms, in particular. Zumba Toning is a great program for people who want to sculpt lean and strong bodies.

Aqua Zumba is held in a pool and is easier on the joints when compared to other Zumba programs.

You can easily stick to a Zumba program for a long time. Your motivation will be high as you enjoy the classes so much. It won’t feel like a chore going to a workout!

Including Zumba into Your Diet

In the last few years, it has helped many people get fit and lose weight. To derive the best benefits from your fitness program you should incorporate healthy food choices into your lifestyle. This has the added benefit of helping you reach your goals faster.

Your body needs water to function properly every day. Always try to drink 8 to 16 oz. of water before you start your Zumba workout. This will keep you hydrated while exercising.

It is important not to skip meals when trying to lose weight. Your metabolism will start to slow down the second you miss a meal. If you are out running errands for the day or at work be sure to pack snacks and a healthy lunch.

Your weekly sessions will help your body burn up those extra calories. You still want to concentrate on eating more natural and fresh foods.

Try to stay away from processed foods that look white! This includes processed meats, sugars, cakes and foods containing white flour.

Think about how you cook your foods, try to grill, broil, bake and stir fry as much as possible. Eat from a smaller plate and eat more slowly. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your stomach is full.

Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast. It contains fiber and is extremely filling. You can easily add a handful of blueberries, strawberries or dried fruit to your oatmeal.

Protein has been shown to be helpful for anyone wanting to lose weight. So include small amounts of protein in your snacks and for your lunch.  Tuna or chicken filled tortillas make a great lunch choice.

If your Zumba class is after work and you don’t have time for a snack before then simply drink a protein shake or eat a protein bar. This will help give your body fuel to get through your hour long workout.

When you do get home for dinner include some lean protein and lots of vegetables on your dinner plate. It is recommended to reduce your carb intake in the evening as your body doesn’t have the time to burn off the calories before you go to bed.

Hopefully, now you can see the importance of eating a good healthy diet while going to your Zumba classes. You will discover that you have more energy for your dance routines and that you are losing weight at a faster rate.

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How to Get Started With Zumba

After checking with your doctor to be sure this type of intensive training is appropriate for you, you can do Zumba in a number of ways.

Gyms, community centers, and private fitness studios offer Zumba classes. These options mean you go to a live class that will include an instructor and members.

Another option is to purchase a Zumba DVD and participate it in the privacy of your home.

If you find it difficult to complete a full hour session don’t get discouraged, many work up to the full hour and see impressive body changes as their fitness level rises.

With the popularity of Zumba, increasing many different classes are appearing.

These new types of classes are aimed at specific groups of people such as Zumba Kids, Zumba Plus, Zumba Sculpt and Zumba Cardio. The classes are done to suit the individuals and the intensity levels will vary.

As you can see there is so much to gain by learning Zumba. Your overall health and enjoyment will increase and you will look forward to your weekly Zumba classes.

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