Bust Your Stress! How? By Learning All About Zumba!
Ever thought about combining dance and exercise as a way of busting your stress?
That there are a ton of ways that you can alleviate your stress goes without saying. You can journal, meditate or spend time with loved ones. But one of the best ways to it is through exercise. Now many people enjoy exercise and for other people, exercise can feel like a chore.
If you’re one of the latter, the way to make exercise feel more fun is by doing something that’s more interesting and fun. That’s where Zumba® comes in. Zumba® is a form of exercise categorized under dance fitness that has been around for about 20 years. It’s trademarked and owned by a company called Zumba® Fitness, LLC.
Zumba® typically takes place in a group class format. It was invented accidently by a Colombian dancer and choreographer, Alberto Perez. Because Zumba® is an aerobic exercise, meaning that it allows for increases in heart rate and blood pressure during a session, it’s a great stress buster and helps keep the heart healthy and free of heart disease. It’s a great way to help you manage your stress before your stress manages you.
Zumba® consists of both dance and aerobics. Besides stress management, many people also use it for weight loss, healthy weight management, heart health, muscle toning and for overall fitness. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or young at heart – Zumba® can be done by people of all ages.
Zumba® is extremely popular and according to Zumba.com is practiced by more than 12 million people in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries. So there’s no good excuse not to try this fun and exciting form of exercise.
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 it quickly spread through the use of home videos, availability of Zumba® classes in gyms and direct marketing campaigns.
Dance Moves Incorporated Into Zumba®
Participating in a Zumba® class is like doing a choreographed dance set to world music. Most of the moves used in Zumba® have been taken from some of the following dance styles:
One great thing about Zumba® is that you learn dance moves and those dance moves are incorporated with more traditional aerobic moves like lunges and squats.
Besides stress relief and the obvious benefits of fat burning that happens when you engage in a fast-paced cardiovascular workout, Zumba® also works various muscles groups in the body.
Every single exercise aims to build strength and lean muscle in moves that are perfectly coordinated to blood pumping music.
Muscle Groups Worked Include:
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 your body’s core and the lower body muscles.
What’s A Zumba® Class Like?
Zumba® instructors are licensed by Zumba® Fitness, LLC, and teach hour-long programs that incorporate 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.
Generally, classes have people with a variety of fitness and experience levels, so the instructors will show each routine as a series of moves broken down so that all the participants can learn the routine. The instructors will also walk around so that they can see your form as you dance and they can answer specific questions.
I can say from personal experience that the dance routines are so much fun! You sweat a bunch, learn new moves to use on the dance floor and (at least for me) you get a great workout that doesn’t feel like work. Just make sure you have enough space between you and the next person so you don’t accidentally smack someone in the head when performing one of your dance moves – like I’ve done 😊!
Most Zumba® classes are anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour and they keep you going almost nonstop. The music is pumping and the instructors have really high energy. It’s one of my favorite form of aerobics class. There’s even a program called Zumba Gold® for seniors that uses aerobic routines and moves that are more appropriate for people with less vitality and flexibility.
Other Types Of Zumba® Programs
Zumba Step® was derived from Zumba® and it’s primarily formulated to work on the gluteal and leg muscles.
Zumba Toning® is another program that uses toning sticks to work out your abs, thighs and arms. Zumba Toning® is a really good way to sculpt a lean and strong body.
Aqua Zumba® is held in a pool and as with most pool based exercises, it’s easier on your joints then to other Zumba® programs.
Getting Started With Zumba®
As with most new exercise programs, you should check first with your doctor to be sure this type of intensive training is appropriate for you before you start. After you get the all clear from your doctor, check around and more than likely, you’ll find many places in your community that offer Zumba®. Gyms, community centers, and private fitness studios all offer Zumba® classes.
If you’ve never done Zumba® before, I believe that a live class is the way to start so that you can get the full experience as a live class will include an instructor and participants. That’ll let you feed off of their energy which will help you enjoy your class more.
In these days of quarantine however, or if there aren’t any classes close to you, other options would be is to buy a Zumba® DVD or stream a Zumba® class and dance the stress away in the privacy of your own home.
If you’re just starting out with Zumba® or exercise in general and find it hard to complete a full hour session, don’t get discouraged, keep at it, do 45 minutes, 30 minutes or even 15 minutes at a time if you need to. Eventually you’ll be able to work your way up to the full hour and you should see the changes that Zumba® makes as your fitness level rises. It’s all about making time.
If you like to dance, then you should really enjoy Zumba®.
Let’s talk. Have you ever taken a Zumba® class before? If so, how was it and did it help relieve some of your stress? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In