I went to a Zumba® dance class last night. It’s a cardio-dance workout that incorporates dance moves with Latino rhythm and music. Fantastic fun and I’ve not felt so exhilarated in ages. There’s lots of pumping and grinding and pelvic thrusting. Slow and fast moves that really wake up the core muscles (I’m a little sore today). Throw in a little Ricky Martin and Shakira, and it feels more like a night out clubbing at Carnival than a boring aerobics class.
As it was my first class, I had no idea what to expect, but was put at ease by the instructor, Claire Waughman of Paragon Personal Training . She took the lead and explained what Zumba® is all about, for benefit of any newbies. There were about 20 of us in the hall – women of all ages, and a handful of men.
The dance routines are a mixture of interval and resistance training to help work the body to the max. The moves are very sensual and a pleasure to watch, and apparently, one class burns around 500 calories. I can see why. After a few minutes I was dripping with sweat and feeling relaxed and happy. It made me feel alive, sexy and took me back to my three weeks in Brazil at Carnival time.
I felt a little clumsy and uncoordinated at times – some of the moves are very fast, and you need to pay close attention to what the instructor is doing, but it doesn’t really matter if you lose the routine. What’s important is moving your body and feeling the music. I imagine I’ll be bit more on the ball next week. After a while, I stopped worrying about getting the moves exactly right, closed my eyes, and just went with the beat. As Claire pointed out – there are no set rules and it’s okay to improvise.
A Brief History of Zumba®
Zumba® was created in the mid-‘90s by celebrity fitness trainer “Beto” Perez, from Cali in Colombia. The story is that he forgot to take his aerobics music to class one day, and had to improvise by using whatever music he had with him – a mix of Latin salsa and merengue. He called his ‘routine’ the Zumba Fitness-Party™, and the classes soon became more popular than traditional aerobics.
In 1999, Perez introduced the Zumba® class to the US, and was approached by a couple of entrepreneurs in 2001 to create a global company based on Zumba® Fitness. In 2007, they launched the Zumba® programme internationally. It is now available worldwide, at over 50,000 locations in 75 countries.
Zumba® is a great way to get fit and have fun, and it will boost your libido by getting you out of your head and into your body. It teaches you how to move with a little attitude, which is great fun, and if I can’t be in Brazil for party time, then this is the next best thing.