If you haven't heard of Zumba you have probably made a cozy home for yourself under a rock, but if you have and have still yet to try it, you're missing out on a fun and effective workout that is taking the fitness world by storm.
Zumba is a calorie burning cardio workout that combines easy-to-follow-along dance moves with Latin beats created by celebrity personal trainer Alberto "Beto" Perez from Cali, Colombia. Zumba uses cardio intervals of Latin dance moves like salsa, merengue, cha cha, hip-hop and more to tone your body and drop inches.
Zumba has such a huge following because it has wide appeal. It's fun, a great workout, and anyone can do it. There is only one rule: keep moving.
While dancing in a huge crowd may have you feeling a little intimidated, the dance steps are very simple, perfect for beginners looking to up their activity level and try working out for the first time. Zumba is also great for people who love to dance, hate traditional cardio or those who are just looking for a way to shake up their routine. Pun intended.
Zumba workouts consist of about three to four moves per song. The moves are repetitive and simple so you can follow along without feeling frustrated or confused. Zumba instructors use non-verbal cuing to lead the class so they don't have to shout over the music. Instructors may use a combination of pointing, clapping and hand signals to direct you what to do next. All Zumba instructors are different, however, which means no two classes will be run exactly the same, so try out a few classes until you find the instructor you like best.
Most find Zumba more exciting when done in a group setting, so fitness classes tend to be the first choice of die-hard Zumba lovers. Dancing and clapping and working up a sweat makes Zumba class more like a fun night out at a dance club with friends than a dreaded workout you can't wait to finish. If you prefer a little more privacy, however, you can purchase Zumba DVDs and shake your money maker at home.
You don't need anything to do Zumba except for some upbeat music and supportive footwear. Your regular gym shoes are just fine, but if you really want proper Zumba attire, there are Zumba shoes specifically designed for hardwood floor dancing. No matter what shoes you choose, they should have adequate ankle support and a flexible sole as you will be dancing on your toes and the balls of your feet the majority of the time.
You don't have to be a dancer to get into Zumba, so grab some friends, hit a class and dance your butt off.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.