Lately, I’ve been seeking ways to spice up my exercise routine. Wanting to try something new, I decided to look into Zumba after reading about it in several different fitness magazines. I posted something about it on Facebook on Friday night and had a ton of positive responses from both men and women, haha, so on Saturday morning, I found myself standing in a huge room at my local gym, with approximately 50 other women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities, waiting to see what this Zumba craze is all about.
Zumba, for anyone who doesn’t know, is essentially aerobic exercise through dance. It was founded by a Colombian dancer and choreographer named Alberto “Beto” Perez back in the 1990’s after he forgot to bring his regular aerobics music to a class he was teaching one day and instead improvised using salsa and meringue cassette tapes that he did happen to have with him. It caught on in Colombia and over the past decade has made it’s way into the United States, becoming extremely popular the last several years. Zumba is not limited to just women, either. There are different types and levels of Zumba classes (which you can find listed here) and all of them have to be taught by a certified Zumba instructor. Unlike an instructor-based exercise like, say, Pilates, where instructors can get certified through several different places, I believe the only way to get certified to teach Zumba is through the Zumba Academy. In fact, if you have any worries about your instructor, you can look them up here to make sure they are certified Zumba instructors.
Zumba classes are generally an hour long and during that hour, prepare for non-stupid fun with physical fitness. Zumba class is full of very upbeat music combined with dance choreography that ranges from hip-hop to salsa to belly dancing-type moves t0 martial arts-style kicks. There was shimmying (I famously cannot shimmy to save my life) and there was booty shaking (thankfully, I can shake my booty). If I reaaaally had to reach for a good comparison, I’d liken Zumba to really sexy line dancing.
Like I said before, my class had to have more than 50 people in it and it was a pretty diverse bunch. If I had to make a guess, I’d say the the age range was from 20 to 65. Some participants were more in shape looking than others, but everyone looked like they were having a great time. In fact, I didn’t see one person leave early. I stood in the back corner by the door, which was both a blessing and a curse. It was the more comfortable option for me, since I felt safer in the back where no one could see how uncoordinated I am, but at the same time, I couldn’t always see the instructor to watch what she was doing. Our instructor, Keia, was awesome. She called out everything loud and clear, so at least I had a chance to hear the dance cues if I couldn’t see her. She had so much energy and never stopped moving the entire time. Our routines were a lot of fun too, even if I did fail miserably at trying to shimmy!
At the end of the hour, I had worked out a pretty good sweat and was ready for a nice, relaxing oppositional hour of Pilates to stretch my tired core out. If you’re considering taking Zumba, I recommend you definitely try it out. If you don’t want to pay to join a gym or take a class, there are videos you can order through the official Zumba website as well as on Amazon. I totally plan on going back again next week. Just you wait, I’ll finally be shimmying in no time!