In my quest to lose weight, I’ve dropped about 14 pounds and so far managed to keep it off more or less. This is remarkable since I fell of the wagon when it came to regular exercise over the summer. Now that the kids are back in school and we are back from our cruise, I’m trying to get back on track with exercise and stepped up my efforts to eat healthier.
Our town recreation committee sent out a flyer for a Zumba class. After several Facebook friends said they were signing up I gave it serious consideration. The timing was good, the price was reasonable and there is something to be said for exercising with friends. I figured I had nothing to lose but the weight.
According to the website Zumba.com Zumba Fitness® is an “. . . effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™.” Zumba was created by mistake by aerobics instructor Alberto “Beto” Perez in his native Columbia. The story goes that Perez forgot his traditional music one day and improvised his aerobics class using dance moves inspired by latin music from his personal cassette collection.
The emphasis in Zumba is on letting the music move you, there are no verbal commands or counting of reps. This is a challenge for a former band geek who had it drummed into her (almost literally) to hold her upper body rigid. My instructor Tammy Gray says “People learn faster when they are just copying.” I have to agree with her. I’ve tried aerobic classes and even videos, but I get lost. Still, there is a bit of a learning curve, so she teaches the same routine for an entire eight week session, but don’t for a minute think it gets boring. The music is lively without being obnoxious and while it is a challenge is to keep up with the choreography it isn’t overwhelming. It’s fun even for someone like me who is notoriously uncoordinated (I wore sneakers under my wedding dress).
After a while the moves start to come naturally. “The first few weeks people are focused on getting the movements down.” Tammy says as participants get the hang of it, the intensity of the workout picks up and the health benefits increase. Why yes, yes it does. “I want people to feel like they accomplished something at the end.” Oh I do! It is an active workout, but I don’t ever feel over taxed. I sweat A LOT, but the time zips by and when I’m done I feel great.
Our rec committee class has been such a success that they’ve committed to offering it through 2012 and are trying to add a second class each week. This will be a great way to burn calories as the temperature plummets.
To find a class near you visit http://www.zumba.com/