Zumba, for those who have never heard about the fitness program, and have probably made a nice home for themselves under a rock, is an Colombian-inspired fitness activity has grown in popularity tremendously since its creation in the late 1990s. And from its origins in South America, Zumba has spread across the globe through classes which allow participants to be led by an instructor
Last Friday, the Carolinian was able to interview students who attended an hour long zumba class in the Rec Center.
A student at the event on Friday, Chi Omega Sorority member, Jessica Dehlavi, talked about why a Zumba class would be a fun outlet for students to come out and join. “One hour in a room with people who are psyched about having a good time, dancing around to Latin music in a non judgmental and fun atmosphere is so simple, but so amazing.”
“Once you go a few times, you start to recognize the repetitions in the dances, you’ll start to get it, and you’ll be hooked,” Dehlavi added.
With the benefit of a welcoming community, Zumba also allows those who come out to get in shape and feel physically good, something which one student noticed about the class.
“Thanks to all that dancing that a Zumba workout requires, you’ll lower your inhibitions, you’ll improve your posture, you’ll have better coordination and you’ll feel good about yourself,” adds student Rachel Mathis. “Someone who feels good also has greater confidence.”
Back to the background of the physical activity, for those completely unaware of the program, you might be asking, “so what is Zumba exactly?” Zumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout that uses music and choreographed steps to form a party atmosphere. While many of the types of dance and music featured in the program are Latin American, some classes may also have everything from jazz to African beats to country to hip-hop and pop.
At a Zumba class, you’ll be able to meet and interact with interesting and fun people, and a number of the students on Friday talked about this benefit with the program. “You could go to this type of workout for at least two or three times per week and you’ll get to socialize and make a lot of new friends among your Zumba classmates,” said student Alyssa Higgins.
“The surprising thing is that it doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at. With Zumba everyone is working out at a zone that’s recommended for improving cardio-health,” says Higgins. “A fit person or a low-fitness person is going to get an equally good workout.”
“We turned exercise into a party,” declared student Alexis Shaw.
Zumba is different from other aerobics classes. The fun, energetic atmosphere it provides makes it appealing to all ages. “This workout promotes letting go and having fun,” said Mathis.
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.
If you are new to world of Zumba, it is helpful to move at your own pace, and avoid get caught up in the whirlwind around you. “The beauty of a dance class is that it’s easy to move in place or do the basic moves while learning the more complicated dance steps,” added Higgins. “It’s easy to get carried away with the music and the atmosphere during a Zumba class.”
Apart from the major heart-health benefits, Zumba provides a workout for the whole body. A work out from head and shoulder rolls that loosen up the neck and warm up the upper body, to footwork that strengthens and stretches calves and ankles, this fitness method touches on nearly every muscle and joint. Even newbies who are just learning the dance steps will find themselves waking up the day after a Zumba class with a definitive post-workout feeling. Hips and abs tend receive particular attention in the Latin dance style, and thighs and butts often end up being sore the day after class.
Zumba may also help to increase your mood. Research has found that all types of exercise produce endorphins, which are a type of “feel-good” hormone that are released into the bloodstream after you finish exercising. People who suffer from bouts of depression are highly encouraged to participate in physical activity in order to benefit from these hormones. Studies have discovered that for the highest amount of endorphin release, you must participate in cardiovascular exercise, like dancing.