Fitness Articles

All About Zumba Class!

Dance Your Way to Fitness

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You've probably heard of the fitness craze Zumba, a workout known as a dance fitness party. I originally tried Zumba with a friend by following a fitness DVD.

While the DVD was fun and the hip-swiveling moves were a blast (and effective at working up a sweat!), the best part of the workout was dancing with my friend—and giggling at each other as we tried to get our hips to salsa, merengue and cha-cha-cha like the girls in the video.

Fast forward a few years, where I stumbled upon Zumba in a group workout class. A few times a week, my fellow gym-goers and I would pack the room and steam the place up! People of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages would gather together, crank up the music and dance their hearts out. Our instructor had an infectious energy and the ability to make you believe that you, too, could dance like her if you just came to Zumba often enough. It was a blast—and a calorie-burner, too. I wore my heart rate monitor during classes and would routinely burn 400 to 600 calories every hour, depending on how much I put into the moves.

The first class I tried left a huge impression on me: One hour in a room with people who were psyched about having a good time were dancing around to high-energy Latin music in a non-intimidating atmosphere. So simple, yet so amazing!

As much as I love Zumba now, I do wish that someone had told me what to expect and what to bring to class. It would have made going to those first few classes so much better. If you've been reluctant to try a class, read on for the ins and outs of getting your Zumba on!

What is Zumba?
Zumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout that uses music and choreographed steps to form a fitness party atmosphere. While many of the types of dance and music featured in the program are Latin American inspired, classes can also contain everything from jazz to African beats to country to hip-hop and pop.

Since its inception in the mid-'90s by creator Alberto "Beto" Perez, the Zumba program reaches 10 million people in more than 90,000 locations across more than 110 countries, according to its website. Over the years the cardio-centric Zumba classes have grown to also include specific programming for children (Zumbatomic) and seniors (Zumba Gold), along with classes in the water (Aqua Zumba), resistance training classes (Zumba Toning) and circuit classes (Zumba in the Circuit, at Curves fitness centers). There are also Zumba DVDs and interactive video games.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am recovering from a knee replacement, have arthritis elsewhere and am 69 y/o. My doctor says I can begin Zumba Gold 4 mo. after surgery. That's Dec 4th!

    There is nothing in your article, Jen, about shoes. I know they are different for carpet and floors. I have see on the web that a split sole athletic shoe will work.

    Problem: I am diabetic and have edema in my ankles and lower legs (if I exercise too much or not enough :-)

    Do you have recommendations for shoes? Can I wear my diabetic stretchy shoes and bring some of those shoe covers I've seen in case I need them?

    I really want to do this!!!!

    Thanks for your inspiring article. - 10/25/2015 12:33:57 PM
  • The Y where i work out at offers both Zumba and Aqua Zumba classes and we have a blast each workout! Our instructor retired from teaching kindergarten and that makes a big difference- she makes the class fun. Once a month we go out for lunch after our class and have a great time! - 8/19/2015 9:27:16 PM
  • STMAND92
    Zumba is also my favorite but I haven't gone to a class in a long time. I joined the YMCA and their instructors can't compare to the one I was going to and I can't pay for both. I have arthritis pretty badly but I do the class and feel pretty good. I am very careful with the high impact parts and try not to do anything that hurts too much or puts me in pain. They do have other types that are low impact and slower and some that build muscle. I have the cds at home and still do them on occasion. You really do feel like you have only worked out for a short period of time when the workout is fun. - 8/17/2015 11:37:25 AM
  • The article is great, except it doe not say anything about all the kinds of Zumba!!!

    As soon as I get my shoes, I am going for the Golden level. It is for older adults who have issues like arthritis. This level of Zumba is lower impact.

    It may even be to your advantage to start out her and progress to the higher impact version later on. - 6/22/2015 4:01:55 PM
  • Please be cautious with Zumba. It is very much a do as the instructor does exercise, very little is actually taught. As a trained dance professional I would advise real caution. take it very easy and don't do anything that hurts. Tis is a great workout but also a very easy way to do permanent damage. - 5/20/2014 12:39:54 PM
    I love Zumba! Doesn't feel like a workout. Just fun dancing. - 2/10/2014 12:22:45 PM
    I would like to see Zumba added to the Spark Fitness Tracker! - 2/10/2014 11:30:19 AM
  • I have arthritis in my knees too however i love the class. I just do what I can do and have fun - 2/2/2014 6:46:07 PM
  • I belong to a zumba class, and my instructors always say that if you can't do certain moves then just walk in place as long as you move. It is great because it is not only movement but fun hooting and hollering while working out. My instructor also says that we should wear court shoes so we can dance without hurting out feet. I now got the zumba wii game and it is good but not the same as the real thing. - 1/5/2014 10:48:27 PM
  • Had my first Zumba class tonight. Danced everything from Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Hip Hop, to Bollywood-inspire
    d Punjabi dance! I felt silly and had a great time! I will definitely be back next week. - 1/4/2014 2:58:15 AM
  • My arthritis won't allow that! - 12/30/2013 6:06:19 AM
  • Love it!!!!! - 12/29/2013 8:41:12 PM
  • Can someone who us
    As had a knee replacement. Unfortunately I had a knee replacement and I can't kneel.
    I would appreciate any info since it looks like a great workout

    Can t kneel and i dont knoecoif this acreqired. i live the zunba worksout and i hip i an do. yhanks for any info.Dan,t knees - 12/27/2013 10:25:30 AM
  • Zumba is my all time favorite exercise class! I have been taking it once or twice a week for over three years. I am 52 and a bit overweight, but I don't feel self conscious at all because we have so many different kinds of people in my classes - young, old, men, women, fit, very overweight - you name it! Our classes are very diverse, which is what makes them fun. We all have so much fun together because the instructors are great, they motivate us and tell us "just do what you can do". If anyone feels silly in a Zumba class, it is time to find a new class! With the right classmates and instructors, you can truly have a blast while blasting calories. Please don't give up! - 12/22/2013 2:36:10 PM
  • I can barely walk forget Zumba.Would love to be able to take classes but with severe spinal athritis I am doing good just to be able to walk around my house a little and exercise on my elliptical in the eve.Sure sounds like FUN! - 12/22/2013 10:43:49 AM

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