You may have heard the word “Zumba” a lot lately.
One of the fastest-growing fitness crazes in the world, it seems like everyone is joining a Zumba class. Indeed, numbers suggest that over a million people in the UK alone practice Zumba – so it’s joining the ranks of jogging and five-a-side football as one of the nation’s favourite ways to keep fit.
But what exactly is it? Founded in 2001 by Colombians Beto Perez and Alberto Perlman (recently interviewed in the Telegraph), Zumba combines a range of difference dance forms with exercise moves – so participants are dancing and working out at the same time. But you don’t have to know how to dance to get the most out of this 21st century craze.
Your first taste of Zumba
The first thing to note is that Zumba is a brand. So every teacher that runs an official Zumba class must be registered with Zumba and qualified as a Zumba instructor. If you got to the official Zumba website, you can enter your postcode and find classes in your area.
Typically, Zumba classes last an hour. Your teacher will probably begin with a few simple dances to warm up and get the blood pumping around your body before launching into more energetic routines, and then slowing down again at the end of the class. The style of a Zumba class will vary according to a teacher’s preference, but each workout should contain routines influenced by a variety of dance styles, including samba, salsa, merengue, hip hop and reggaeton. This makes for a class that covers a diverse array of music and dance disciplines, challenging your stamina and coordination.
Watching Zumba videos on YouTube will offer a good impression of what a class is like. But keep in mind that Zumba classes often choose their best students when filming videos. So if it looks like you need to be a professional dancer to join, rest assured that that’s not the case. In Zumba, it’s more important to have fun and get your body moving than it is to get the steps right. And as you keep going to more classes, you’ll soon find that your coordination improves as well.
Who can join a Zumba class?
There are no real limits on who can join a Zumba class – if you enjoy music and dancing, and you’d like to get fit, it’s a great way to exercise. In fact, Zumba is particularly popular with groups of friends, and many classes in the UK have social groups attached to them. So if you’re looking for a fun and healthy activity to pursue with friends, or you’ve just moved to a new area and want to meet people, Zumba could be the ideal social activity.
While Zumba may be more popular with women, there’s absolutely no restriction on men joining too. In fact, many men of all ages find that Zumba is great way to improve coordination and supplement other physical activities, like jogging and gym workouts. And if you’re looking for a way to get your children interested in an active lifestyle, Zumba is the perfect cover: they’ll think they’re dancing and have fun – but, little do they know, they’ll be exercising too.
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